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PCs aim to take math “back to the basics”

Province investing $200 million over four years to improve math scores

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

With math scores continuing to decline across Ontario, the provincial government says it will spend $200 million to take lessons “back to the basics.”

The new four-year math strategy comes on the heels of recently-released EQAO results.

The results show 58 per cent of Grade 3 students are at provincial standards in the 2018-19 round tests, a drop of three per cent the previous year, and five percent since 2015-16.

Forty-eight per cent of Grade 6 students were at or above the province’s standards last year, which was also down.

The number of Grade 9 students at or above Ontario’s standards has remained stable over the past four years.

Among academic students, 84 per cent of students met the mark, the same as 2017-18, while in applied classes it was 44 per cent, a slight decrease.

But Minister of Education Stephen Lecce says students are “struggling,” and change is needed.

“We will never accept the status quo, we are demanding better for our kids by investing in a landmark multi-year strategy that will, from day one, help our students and educators build the confidence and

knowledge to excel in math,” Lecce said in a news release.

The $200 million, four-year strategy begins with $55 million in funding for the 2019-2020 year.

According to the ministry, the funding will be used to hire “math-learning leads” to support school boards, expanding online tutoring programs, subsidize additional math courses for teachers, and

development summer learning programs to prevent student “learning loss.”

The government recently announced new applicants for teaching positions in Ontario’s elementary and high schools will need to score 70 per cent on a new test under development by the government.

The test, which is slated to be in place at the end of this school year, will include both math questions and an evaluation of their in-classroom teaching methods.