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Above Average

Students shine on EQAO assessments
Posted on 09/19/2018

(Windsor, Ontario, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018) – Students in Catholic schools throughout Windsor-Essex continue to perform above provincial averages on standardized assessments, according to data released today from the Education Quality and Accountability Office.

“We have excellent teachers and support staff in our schools, and with the backing of our Trustees and administration, their pedagogical strategies continue to benefit our students,” said Director of Education Terry Lyons. “We are devoted to ensuring that our students get the best possible educational experience they can have, and the fact that they consistently perform above average is a testament to that commitment.”

Results from the 2017 assessment show that in both Grade 3 and Grade 6 reading, writing, and math, the number of WECDSB students who met the EQAO standard were above provincial average by anywhere from one to five per cent. The number of Grade 9 applied math students who met the standard exceeded the provincial average by 14 per cent, while at the academic level, they exceeded the Ontario average by five per cent.

On the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, WECDSB students in Grade 10 exceeded the provincial average by six per cent. At St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary School, the board’s top performing school where the results were announced, students have been steadily improving in most categories over the last four years. In Grade 3 reading, writing and math, the number of students meeting the standard improved by anywhere from 10 to 22 per cent since 2013. In Grade 6, those numbers improved by anywhere from 19 to 37 per cent.

Although the board’s students remained above provincial averages, there have been some fluctuations in trend data over the last few years. There were increases in primary and junior reading over the last three years, however there were slight decreases in math scores (see attached graphs).

“That is somewhat concerning, but if you look at most of the trend data for the last four years, we’ve been on a consistently upward trajectory, so we fully expected that at some point, there might be some anomalies and year-to-year fluctuations,” said Board Chair Barb Holland. “I’m certain our administrators will work closely with our staff to determine if there’s any need to reconsider our teaching methods, and that our students will continue to perform at a very high level.”

In fact, that process has already begun according to Executive Superintendent of Education Emelda Byrne.

“Just yesterday our senior administrative team met with all of our principals to do an in-depth, school by school analysis of their data,” she said. “We were working on identifying any curriculum strands where their students may be experiencing difficulties so that we can determine next steps for our learners, and how we can support our staff.”

Byrne added that the recent release of the Ministry of Education’s Focus on Fundamentals, which introduced new teaching strategies in the area of mathematics, came as welcome news and could have a positive impact on next year’s assessment results.

“We’re incorporating those strategies in to our Renewed Math Strategy which was introduced two years ago,” she said. “A balanced approach that combines that focus on fundamentals with teaching conceptual understanding of all math skills to improve problem solving abilities is what we’re really aiming for.”

Byrne added that she’s happy to see that the EQAO assessment method is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Education.

“We’ll be looking forward to see if the format of those assessments is changed in any way to further align them with our curriculum,” she said. “It’s important for us to have reliable data to measure the effectiveness of our teaching strategies, but there’s always room for improvement.”

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