Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, said: “Ontario has a lot to be proud of in terms of student achievement, however, with regard to our math scores, we know there is more to do. Our students continue to perform better than most peers in international assessments in reading, science and math. The new global economy demands more for all students, so we must strive for even better results.”
Education Minister Mitzie Hunter was at J.R. Wilcox Community School in Toronto today to meet with students and teachers, and discuss the many initiatives underway to increase achievement in math. Ontario is making a number of investments that support students and parents, including:
- More than $60 million to implement a renewed math strategy. Starting this school year, teachers in Grades 1 to 8 will spend 60 minutes per day to focus on effective instruction in math. Other key elements of the strategy include up to three math lead teachers in all elementary schools, and opportunities for educators to deepen their knowledge in math learning, teaching and leading, including a dedicated math Professional Development Day.
- Helping parents support their children’s learning and well-being by awarding more than 2,300 Parents Reaching Out Grants for the 2016-17 school year. These grants – of which more than 800 focus on or include a math component – support local school councils, Parent Involvement Committees and not-for-profit organizations working with parents.
- Supporting Homework Help, which provides students with free, real-time math tutoring by certified Ontario teachers. The live, interactive online math help is available to students in Grade 7 to 10 in all English-language school boards. SOS Devoirs is a similar service for Francophone students in Grade 1 to 12.
Top performing jurisdiction
As part of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, Ontario was one of the top-performing jurisdictions in math with students performing above the average for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in math, reading and science.
The latest Education Quality and Accountability Office results show there is room for improvement in the area of math achievement. From 2011-12 to 2015-16, Grade 3 math results declined by five percentage points and Grade 6 results declined by eight percentage points.
Since 2014, Ontario has introduced a new two-year teacher education program that provides increased opportunities for learning about teaching math for new teachers and supported more than 6,000 teachers to earn additional qualifications in math. The government will continue to offer financial support to teachers to pursue this intensive professional development in math teaching.
The renewed math strategy will ensure educators have access to the supports they need to teach a curriculum that aims to balance understanding basic math concepts and gaining arithmetic skills like multiplication tables with developing thinking skills for advanced problem solving. – CINEWS