School board touts rising Grade 6 and Grade 9 test scores

BROCKVILLE — Standardized testing scores in Grade 6 literacy are on the rise in the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB). Scores in Grade 9 academic math have also improved, says Stephen Sliwa, Director of Education.

Results show that 78 per cent of Grade 6 students met the provincial standard in writing, while 79 per cent did so in reading, said Sliwa in a Sept. 21 UCDSB press release.  These scores are up from 75 and 77 per cent respectively in 2013-2014, the last year the tests were administered. Scores in 2010-2011 were 67 and 70 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, results for the UCDSB show that in 2015-2016, a full 75 per cent of Grade 9 students reached the provincial standard in academic math testing, up from 74 per cent the previous school year.

“It’s a positive sign that our strategies for teaching and learning in these areas are having an impact,” said Valerie Allen, Superintendent of Schools,  “Though we’re making progress, we realize more work must be done. We need to make improvements in math at all levels – Grades 3, 6, and 9 – and to enhance our current level of success in the Grade 10 literacy test. We have plans in place to make improvements.”

The superintendent said Grade 6 literacy scores have risen due to a variety of strategies including:

  •    Focusing on comprehensive literacy strategies that meet the requirements set out in the Ontario Curriculum;
  •    Ensuring teaching and learning in literacy is deeply rooted in rich, relevant and engaging tasks for students;
  •    Using a number of different instructional approaches to address the needs of all learners.

The board is working to improve Grade 9 math scores under its Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (BIPSA), said Allen. The plan lays out several steps to improve math achievement including:

  •    Engaging teachers and administrators in regular learning teams that explore math learning goals closely tied to individual school improvement plans;
  •    Building teachers’ knowledge of proper assessment practices and math content, based on the Ontario Curriculum expectations, so instruction will help students gain a better understanding of math;
  •    Implementing a variety of teaching strategies in all classrooms to meet the needs of all students.

Allen added that EQAO scores on the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test have remained fairly stable over the past few years, with scores ranging between 73 and 75 per cent. The board will focus on literacy in the intermediate division to push these scores to the next level, and to build on the successes we are seeing at the Grade 6 level.

The Board’s improvement plan sets out a number of strategies to help students succeed in the areas of literacy and numeracy. These range from creating learning environments in our schools designed to help students develop literacy skills; developing rich, relevant and engaging learning tasks for students and using mathematical thinking tools in all classrooms. These strategies will be targeted in areas for improvement such as junior math and Grade 9 Applied math courses.

Board Chair Jeff McMillan indicated that the improvement plan is an important part of the Board’s vision of preparing all students for a successful life.

“This important work will help to ensure that our students are successful and feel confident in their learning and in life. This is certainly our vision for each and every student.”


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