New Brunswick’s Grade 2 Students’ Reading and Writing Skills Improving

New Brunswick’s Grade 2 anglophone students performed better than last year on the 2005 Literacy Assessment, Education Minister Madeleine Dubé announced today.

The 2005 Literacy Assessment was administered to second graders near the end of the 2004-2005 school year to assess their literacy proficiency. A key commitment of the Quality Learning Agenda is to have 90 per cent of Grade 2 students reading read at grade level, and 20 per cent of these students exceeding the grade level.

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Since the release of the Quality Learning Agenda in 2003, 410 teachers have been hired to focus on specific needs in New Brunswick’s schools and classrooms. Most of these teachers are working as literacy specialists and are having a positive effect, which is contributing to measurable gains in Grade 2 literacy results.

“Literacy teachers, along with students, teachers, parents, school districts and district education councils, are all to be commended for their hard work and dedication to achieve better results in literacy,” Dubé said. “We will continue to work with all our education partners to ensure all students have the literacy skills they need to achieve success.”

A total of 8,049 Grade 2 students in both the anglophone and francophone sectors participated in the 2005 Literacy Assessment.

Of the 4,166 students in Grade 2 in the anglophone program who took the reading assessment, 65.2 per cent met or exceeded the appropriate performance level, up 5.8 per cent from 2004. Sixteen per cent of the students achieved a strong performance level.

On the writing test, 51.9 per cent of the students achieved a score at the appropriate level or above, an increase of 9.5 per cent from the 42.4 per cent rate last year.

In Grade 2 reading through the French immersion program, 68.4 per cent of the 1,540 students tested met or exceeded the appropriate performance level in French, a 5.7 per cent increase compared with 62.7 per cent in 2004. Just over 17 per cent of the students achieved a strong performance level.

In writing, the proportion of students meeting or exceeding the appropriate performance level rose to 64.5 per cent, an increase of 20.9 per cent from last year’s rate of 43.6 per cent.

“These results show that we are moving in the right direction with our Quality Learning Agenda,” Dubé said. “We are delighted with the scores, and are confident that we can sustain these increases in the coming years.”

The francophone sector assesses reading using two different tests. The first is a paper-pencil reading comprehension test. The second is an individual test with a mentor during which the student reads out loud and then answers a number of standardized questions.

Results show that 59.9 per cent of students reached or exceeded the appropriate performance level for the paper-pencil test and 51.1 per cent for the individual test with the mentor. Moreover, 19.1 per cent have exceeded the appropriate performance level for the paper-pencil test while the Quality Learning Agenda target is 20 per cent. This is the first year of testing for the francophone sector and the results will serve as a benchmark for future assessments.

“Early literacy is critical to the success, academically and personally, of our students,” Dubé said. “We are committed through our Quality Learning Agenda to see all New Brunswick students leave Grade 2 with the ability to read.”

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