Schools' test results mixed 0
EQAO test results released
Students in Haliburton County are faring well when it comes to literacy, however, there is room for improvement in the mathematics department.
Last week the province released its Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) results for boards and individual schools throughout Ontario.
The standardized test assesses students in grades 3, 6 and 9 in the areas of writing, reading and mathematics.
While students at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School are succeeding at the academic mathematics level, with 86 per cent meeting or exceeding the provincial standard, at the applied level, numbers are down.
This past year, 47 per cent of Haliburton high school students in applied math met the standard, compared to 61 per cent at the board level and 44 per cent across the province.
HHSS principal Dan Marsden said the results are still worth celebrating.
“Our academics did very well; above the board and provincial average. At the applied level, even though we’re below the board level, we’re still above the provincial average,” he said.
For Marsden the results will mean finding new strategies to improve.
“We’ll look at some reasons as to why the success wasn’t there and then try to implement some new strategies to find success for them,” he said, adding he has spoken to the head of the school’s math department about introducing new ideas.
The principal cannot point to just one reason for the results, saying it’s a combination of factors.
“It’s right across the board, depending on the student and with large class sizes we have many different styles of learners … there are many different things we’re trying and from year to year you try to help the students as much as you can,” he said.
At Archie Stouffer Elementary School in Minden, principal Traci Hubbert was ecstatic about the results received by students in grades 3 and 6.
This past year students at ASES exceeded the board and provincial levels across all areas of testing, with more than 90 per cent of students meeting reading standards for both grades.
“It’s excellent. It’s a very good news story for us,” said Hubbert. While the principal is pleased with the results she is careful to remember it is a reflection of one assessment.
“While it is definitely a standardized assessment that we can use to help us gauge how we are doing on things, there are lots of other ways that we measure how students are being successful in our school,” she said.
For Hubbert the results are a reflection of many things, including the teaching staff at the elementary school.
“The staff here are just outstanding and how they work together and communicate needs of students from one year to the next, they do a great job … the students are just being constantly reinforced through good teaching practice,” she said.
At the end of September, each school will be receiving a breakdown of their results, which will help determine what types of teaching methods are successful and which are not, said Hubbert.
Good results in the reading and writing can be partially attributed to a board-wide campaign focused on literacy, she said.
“We know it’s a foundations, that if they can’t read they’re not going to be able to do the writing or the math. For a long time there was a lot of emphasis on making sure we were equipping children to read really well. The next focus was on writing.” Hubbert believes both the board and province will be shifting their attention to mathematics in the coming years as a new focus for improvement.
J.D. Hodgson Elementary School principal Elaine Fournier echoed Hubbert’s remarks, stating the literacy results for the Haliburton school were something to smile about.
78 per cent of Grade 6 students at JDHES met the standard in writing, higher than the board and provincial average, and 69 per cent in reading, slightly lower than both the board and province.
“If you look at JDH’s result in writing we did very well, and that was a real cause for celebration for us because that had been a full school year focus,” said Fournier.
The emphasis on writing followed a realization students were struggling in the literacy department last year, said the principal.
Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Fournier said the school would continue to work towards achievement in writing, however, also look at other areas needing improvement, such as math.
43 per cent of students at the elementary school met the standard in mathematics, far lower than board or provincial scores. “We saw a mirror with our own school results with regard to mathematics, in terms of results that were less than what we would want. That was mirrored with the board in relation to the province,” said Fournier.
Looking ahead, the school will be hoping to garner positive results in math as well as ensuring steady improvements continue overall.
“What specifically in mathematics, that’s our next big question … is it one particular strand? Those are some of the questions we’ll be asking in the coming weeks,” said the principal.
Fournier said once the results were released, principals across the board met to discuss improvement planning and growth. This year’s results offered validation for Fournier, who said they reflected all of the hard work put in by the staff and that the “proof was in the pudding.”
“But the pudding is only one piece of the pie,” she said.
80 per cent of students at Stuart Baker Elementary School met the standard in reading, 91 per cent in writing and 77 per cent in math.
While all three categories were higher than both the board and province, the numbers were lower than the previous year’s results.
Results for Wilberforce Elementary School and Cardiff Elementary School were not made available due to the small population of the schools.
The EQAO results are for the 2011-2012 academic year.