The latest round of province-wide testing yielded mixed results for the Waterloo public and Catholic school boards, including some local schools as well.
The Educational Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) tests Grade 3 and 6 students on reading, writing, and math; Grade 9 students are tested on math. The newest results were released Wednesday.
Provincially, 82 per cent of Grade 9 academic math students met or exceeded the provincial standard (Level 3 or 4), up from 77 per cent a year ago and 71 per cent five years ago. In applied math, 40 per cent of students met or exceeded the provincial standard, up from 38 per cent a year ago and 35 per cent five years ago.
Elmira District Secondary School and Waterloo Oxford District Secondary School both performed well in last year’s test.
EDSS surpassed board and provincial averages for both applied and academic mathematics. Waterloo Oxford outperformed the province and the board in applied mathematics, and was on par with the province and the board for academic math.
A representative from the administration at EDSS said the school was very pleased with their results.
“That’s a reflection of the efforts of the students and the staff as well,” he said. “It’s an indicator of how kids do, one of several [indicators].”
For Grade 3 students across the province, 62 per cent were at or above the provincial standard for reading, 70 per cent for writing, and 71 per cent for mathematics. In Grade 6, 72 per cent met the standard for reading, 70 per cent met the standard for writing, and 61 per cent for mathematics.
Locally, the Waterloo Region District School Board has seen little change in student performance in the past five years.
In Grade 3, 58 per cent of students met or exceeded the provincial standard for reading this year, down from 60 per cent five years ago. For writing, 65 per cent met or exceeded the standard this year, which is up from 60 per cent five years ago. And for mathematics, 66 per cent of students met or exceeded the standard this year, compared to 65 per cent five years ago.
For Grade 6, the scores are slightly better. Reading has improved by seven per cent over five years to 71 per cent this year, writing has improved by 10 per cent over five years to 67 per cent, and mathematics has fallen by one point over five years to 59 per cent.
The big improvement in reading and writing is a pleasant result for officials.
“We are particularly pleased that a significant number of students who underperformed when they were in Grade 3 have now achieved the provincial standard in grade 6,” said Elaine Ranney, assistant superintendent of school effectiveness and assessment with the Waterloo Region District School Board.
Wellesley Public School and Conestogo PS showed dramatic improvement over their scores from last year, bettering their results in five of six categories each.
For the Catholic school board, it is much the same story as the public board: a mixed bag.
In Grade 3, reading has fallen by three percentage points over five years to 63 per cent this year. Writing has improved by four points over five years to 71 per cent this year, and mathematics has remained the same from five years ago at 74 per cent.
At Elmira’s St. Teresa of Avila school, the results were poor. For Grade 3, the school surpassed the provincial and board average for reading, but fell behind both the school board and the province in the other five categories.
Students at St. Clement school surpassed the provincial and board average in all areas except Grade 6 mathematics.
Back in August, the Elementary Teachers Federation called for a moratorium on any further testing for Grade 3 and Grade 6 students, saying that other important subjects such as history, art, and social science are sacrificed in preparation for the tests.
Provincially, almost 135,000 Grade 3 and Grade 6 students were evaluated by the EQAO, including more than 5,800 students in Waterloo Region. Nearly 150,000 Grade 9 students in the province were also evaluated, including 6,303 in the region.