Catholic board sees mixed testing results

The Northwest Catholic District School Board is staying positive about its students’ performance after finding grade three and six scores from last spring’s reading, writing, and math testing showed both increases and decreases.
“Math is up significantly,” said Ron Fryer, curriculum co-ordinator for the local separate school board.
“And while reading is an area we obviously have to work, we could look at this as an opportunity,” he added. “The ministry’s push is going to be for reading so there’s already more programs coming our way.
“There’s money coming in, and workshops being planned, which will be very helpful,” said Fryer, noting teachers from both district boards, as well as the Kenora and Keewatin-Patricia ones, attended an early literacy workshop called “First Steps” here last week.
Grade three Catholic students here scored a 41, 49, and 52 percent pass rate in reading, writing, and math, respectively, while the grade three provincial averages in those subjects were 49, 52, and 61.
This shows differences of eight, three, and nine percent between the provincial and board scores.
While the math score is an eight percent improvement over last year’s board score (44 percent), reading and writing scores took a dip from 48 percent to 41 in reading, and 51 percent to 49 in writing.
Meanwhile, grade six Catholic students here scored a 39, 44, and 45 percent in reading, writing, and math, respectively, while the provincial averages in those subjects were 55, 53, and 54.
This shows differences of 16, nine, and nine percent between the provincial and board averages.
Local grade six students showed improvement over last year’s scores in writing and mathematics—areas in which they had averaged 39 and 38 percent respectively.
But like their grade three counterparts, reading scores went from 47 percent pass percentage last year to just 39 percent this time around—a difference of eight percent.
Fryer said information gained from the test results, as well as checklist surveys filled out by teachers and parents, are taken into account in a report on the monitoring of the implementation of the board action plan—a matter he spoke on at Tuesday night’s regular board meeting here.
“We’re trying to find out what’s happening in the classrooms,” noted Fryer, adding the report is the first one compiled with the focus being implementation of the board’s action plan.
The demand for such a report came up last year after the board devised its mandatory action plan, but then wanted to know how it would be used at the board’s five schools.
Fry noted the report is just the first of many, and will act as a baseline for a second survey held in May—a survey which hopefully will give the board a better idea of student improvement due to the action plan’s implementation.
In other business at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board:
•approved its 2002 meeting schedule;
•gave to the nod to Policy C-11 (Investment of Board Funds);
•accepted the November personnel report, which noted the appointment of Diana Griffiths as full-time business administrator and Dina Gardiman as full-time human resources administrator; and
•received minutes of the special education advisory committee from its June 20 and Sept. 17 meetings.
The board’s next meeting is slated Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the board office in Dryden.