Trend of Improvement Established in Elementary Student Performance

The second year of improved scores for Ontario students in reading, writing and math means that the Ontario government’s ambitious education goals are on track, but face significant challenges before they can be accomplished, said Education Minister Gerard Kennedy, reacting to the release of today’s Grade 3 and 6 reading, writing and math results from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).
“We are on track, but we also know that large gains become more difficult to attain each year, as children with greater needs are assisted to succeed,” said Minister of Education Gerard Kennedy. “We have worked with school boards to create, for the first time, a coordinated effort across the province, to help students reach their potential. And we will all bring our ingenuity and perseverance to the task of helping students succeed.”
The new results – for the 2004-05 school year – show that an average of 62 per cent of Ontario students are meeting or exceeding the provincial standard in reading, writing and math. That’s a significant increase from the average of 54 per cent who were meeting the standard in 2002-03, when the government first assumed office. It also marks the second straight year of
improvement: an average of 58 per cent met the standard in 2003-2004.
The McGuinty government has set a target of 75 per cent of students meeting or exceeding the provincial standard in reading, writing and math by 2008.
“Having every child reach a high level of literacy and numeracy by age 12 is both an economic and social building block,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty. “I want to congratulate Ontario’s students, teachers, education workers, principals, school boards and parents. We are now on a trend of improvement.”
To give Ontario’s 1.1 million primary and junior students more individualized attention, the McGuinty government introduced the Every Child Strategy to lower class sizes, expand teacher training, target additional resources to schools and innovate lighthouse programs to share successful efforts between schools. The government is directly engaging schools and
school boards through the innovative Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat.
At the high school level, the government’s Student Success strategy is starting to turn more struggling students into successful graduates. Last week, the government reported that the number of students who graduate after five years in high school has gone up – from 68 per cent in 2003-04 to an estimated 72 per cent in 2004-05.
The gender gap between boys and girls in Grade 3 and 6 also continues to close and progress was made again by ESL/ESD and students with special needs students. More work still needs to be done to remove barriers to success for these students.