EQAO results mostly good news for Niagara boards
=Niagara’s two big public school boards have scored higher than the provincial average in most standardized tested categories.
This week, Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office released assessment results for Grade 3 and 6 math and literacy assessments, Grade 9 math and the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test.
It’s the first time all EQAO assessments have been released at the same time.
Math results — a focus for both boards in recent years — showed improvements, with only District School Board of Niagara’s Grade 9 math scores remaining middling.
For Niagara Catholic District School Board, Grade 3 and 6 students exceeded the provincial average in reading, writing and mathematics.
Seventy-nine per cent of primary students at Niagara Catholic performed at Level 3 or above on the assessment, the provincial standard, compared to 72 per cent of the provincewide group.
Eighty per cent of Grade 3 students obtained Level 3 or higher on the writing assessment compared to 74 per cent across Ontario.
Sixty-eight per cent of students obtained that or higher on the mathematics assessment, five per cent higher than all Ontario Grade 3 students who took the test.
For Niagara Catholic’s Grade 6 students, 84 per cent assessed achieved Level 3 or higher on reading, three per cent higher than the provincial figure.
Eighty-six per cent of junior students got a Level 3 or higher on writing, compared to 80 per cent in Ontario, and 56 per cent of Grade 6 students obtained Level 3 or higher in mathematics, compared to the 50 per cent provincewide figure.
In Grade 9 math, 83 per cent of Niagara Catholic students in the academic stream performed at or above the provincial standard, on par with the province.
Fourty-seven per cent of students in applied mathematics met or exceeded the provincial standard, two per cent higher than the provincial figure.
“We’re quite pleased with the EQAO and literacy results for our students in 2015/16, as a snapshot of student achievement,” said Niagara Catholic education director John Crocco. “I’m very proud of the continuous education, leadership and program delivery of our principal and teachers.
Crocco said it’s a reflection of his board’s drive for “continuous improvement in all areas.”
He said trend data also “(shows) our students continue to improve in their results.” Right now Crocco’s board is looking at the data to help principals and teachers “identify strengths and areas of improvement for students in areas related to reading, writing and math.”
There were big gains in math for DSBN’s Grade 3s and 6s students.
In 2015-16, 59 percent of Grade 6 students were able to achieve the provincial standard on the EQAO assessment, nine points above the province’s success rate. For the DSBN, that’s 12 percentage points over the most recent 2013-14 results, two years’ previous.
Results in Grade 3 math improved one percentage point over 2013-14, to a success rate of 70 per cent, well above the provincial 63 per cent.
Grade 9 EQAO math test results have not improved since 2013-14.
The board’s Grade 9 academic math result increased one point to 79 per cent from last year. That score is still two percentage points below the provincial average. Applied mathematics dropped two points to 43 per cent overall, also two percentage points lower than Ontario’s average.
Students must successfully complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test to graduate from secondary school.
At Niagara Catholic, in 2016 86 per cent of the students writing the test for the first time were successful, with the figure in Ontario 81 per cent.
DSBN’s results were also above the provincial average in literacy, at 83 per cent successful on the test, the same as the previous year.
Warren Hoshizaki, DSBN’s education director, said the Grade 6 math results boost, when the province decreased four per cent, “was very significant for us.”
“I think the … strategies we have been working on have really made a difference, so we’re very pleased with that one.”
Hoshizaki said the overall positive results for the Grade 3 and 6 students was also a good sign.
As for first-year high school scores, “Grade 9 applied (math) has been a challenge for everyone across the province,” Hoshizaki said.
“However, we do know kids that do well in Grade 6 do well in 9 … so we think success we’re having in grades 3 and 6 will translate into better scores (later),” he said.
“It takes time … we’ve been working on that for a while.”
Some of those DSBN math initiatives have included having instructional coaches embedded with schools to support teachers and more professional development for teachers.