EQAO – Ontario Students Continue Gains in Foundation Skills of Reading, Writing and Math

“More and more Ontario elementary school students are building the strong foundations they’ll need for later learning,” Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) chair, Charles Pascal, confirmed today in releasing the 2004-2005 results of annual province-wide testing. Tests were taken in the 2004-2005 school year in Grades 3, 6 and 9 in all publicly funded schools in Ontario.

“This year’s results are positive and continue the trend we’ve been seeing in Grades 3 and 6 over the past few years. Grade 9 students have maintained their previous results,” said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO chief executive officer. “While these results point to significant inroads in the elementary grades, continued efforts are required to help every student achieve the highest possible level of success in the critical foundation subjects of reading, writing and math.”

In Grades 3 and 6, this year’s results continued the pattern of the previous year’s improvements, with gains this year of between 2% and 5% in all three subjects. Compared with results from last year, the percentage of Grade 3 students who performed at or above the provincial standard

increased by 5% in reading to 59%;
increased by 3% in writing to 61% and
increased by 2% in mathematics to 66%.

The percentage of Grade 6 students who performed at or above the provincial standard

increased by 5% in reading to 63%;
increased by 5% in writing to 59% and
increased by 3% in mathematics to 60%.

Again this year in Grade 9 math, 68% of students in the academic program performed at or above the provincial standard. Students in the applied program improved their results by one percent, with 27% reaching the provincial standard or surpassing it.

“It’s important that we keep in mind what the results mean and how they encourage us to keep improving student learning,” said Pascal. “The increasing number of students reaching the standard in Grades 3 and 6 is a tribute to everyone involved in the education system-teachers, principals, school boards, researchers, parents, communities, government and, of course, the students themselves. However, test scores are not the end result but a catalyst for improving student skills and learning. In Grade 6 reading, for example, 37% or approximately 53 000 students have still not reached the provincial standard. In writing and math, the numbers are as high as 58 800 students. It is our hope that the information gathered from this assessment will be used to ensure that all students receive the support they need to become successful learners.”

Results for individual schools, school boards and the province are available on EQAO’s Web site, www.eqao.com, as are this year’s Provincial Report and the Highlights.

Assessment of Learning for Learning

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), an independent, arm’s-length agency of the Government of Ontario, undertakes province-wide assessments of Grade 3 and Grade 6 students in reading, writing and mathematics, and of Grade 9 students in mathematics. Assessments in the three grades are conducted annually in all publicly funded schools in Ontario.

These assessments measure student achievement based on The Ontario Curriculum. EQAO provides information to the public, parents, schools, school boards and the government about student achievement in relation to the standards defined in the curriculum.

The assessments were written in the 2004-2005 school year by

135 740 Grade 3 students in 3349 schools;
143 421 Grade 6 students in 3171 schools;
104 100 Grade 9 students in academic mathematics in 668 schools and
51 155 students in applied mathematics in 683 schools.

Literacy and Numeracy: Building Blocks for Success

Literacy and numeracy skills have been identified as fundamental building blocks for success in school and in life.

Although the EQAO tests measure proficiency in these areas in Grade 3, Grade 6 and Grade 9, they are priorities throughout a child’s education, involving every teacher, every parent and every student, beginning when he or she enters school.

Assessments in Context

Schools should not be judged on the EQAO data alone. The EQAO results provide a “snapshot” of how students are achieving at one point in time and do not fully represent the richness and depth of multifaceted schools and their students.

Every school’s staff has access to many sources of data in addition to EQAO reports. School staff and parents need to take into account the complexities of their school by examining their EQAO results along with all of the other information they have about student achievement, such as report cards, classroom assessments and board assessments.

In addition, contextual factors, such as attendance patterns, absentee rates, mobility rates and special program needs of students, can influence student achievement.

Successful Schools: Test Results As a Starting Point

In the 2004-2005 Provincial Report, EQAO profiles twelve schools in which staff, students and parents have worked together to support students in gaining proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics. These schools’ stories illustrate the importance of systematic leadership, the benefits of using data and the critical role that teachers and all members of the school community play.

Algonquin Avenue PS
Centennial SS
Dunlop ES
Erindale SS
Fort Frances HS
Holy Family Catholic School
John Paul II Catholic SS, London
McNaughton Avenue PS, Chatham
Monsignor Castex SS
Mount Carmel School
Parkland PS
Sacred Heart ES
St. Peter’s Catholic SS
St. Benedict Catholic SS
St. Catherine Catholic School
Sts. Martha and Mary Catholic School
Waverly PS
William Berczy PS

In these schools staff have

analyzed their assessment data;
identified key areas for improvement;
identified what they want to achieve;
agreed on approaches they will use to reach their goals and
systematically tracked their successes.

EQAO emphasizes that learning from assessment data is central to educators’ overarching responsibility to be accountable for each and every student.

Use of School and Board Information

EQAO provides reports to help school staff use local data and to share it with their communities. These reports, available on EQAO’s Web site, include

ready-to-use summaries of results;
easy-to-read graphs;
information about local context and
trends over time.

Schools and boards received their results in September. These reports are available on the EQAO Web site, www.eqao.com.

The Provincial Report includes practical strategies for instruction that classroom teachers can use. In addition, each school and board will receive reports about students’ answers to each question on the test. These resources will assist them in identifying key areas for improvement.

All students who participated in the assessments last spring will receive an Individual Student Report, which shows the child’s achievement in relation to curriculum expectations. As well, the student report provides parents with a summary of school, board and provincial results.

Individual Student Reports will be in schools after October 19 and sent home with students.

Testing the Curriculum

The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8 describes what students should know and be able to do at each stage of their schooling.

The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: Mathematics sets out expectations for student knowledge and performance in those grades.

EQAO assessments measure how well students have met the provincial expectations. For example, Grade 3 and Grade 6 students are assessed in

reading—using a variety of reading strategies and conventions, understanding concepts, making inferences and connecting ideas;

writing—using writing strategies and language conventions, understanding assigned tasks, organizing ideas and communicating with the reader and

mathematics—demonstrating knowledge and skills in the five strands of mathematics: number sense and numeration, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, patterning and algebra, and data management and probability.

The curriculum describes four levels for reporting student achievement. Level 3 is the provincial standard. Levels 1 and 2 are below standard, and Level 4 indicates achievement beyond the expected standard.


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