Board to unveil plan to improve student test scores

Techniques to address weaknesses in last year’s provincial test results will be discussed at the Rainy River District School Board’s regular monthly meeting here Tuesday night.
“EQAO helps us identify specific areas we are weak in,” Terry Ellwood, superintendent of education for the local public school board, said Tuesday morning.
“For instance, we thought reading was one overall skill but now we know it involves a lot of different skills,” he noted.
“Writing has also been broken down into several different areas and we do integrated planning to look at writing and bring up the students’ overall results,” Ellwood added.
The annual improvement plan is based on local Grade 3 and 6 results in reading, writing, and math testing for the last year. For the first time, Grade 9 math test and Grade 10 literacy test results also were included.
The plan targets problem-solving and communication in math skills.
“We are suggesting that students be presented with a problem of the week. It should be unrelated to the work they are teaching that day so that they really have to think about the problem,” Ellwood noted.
Another suggestion is that students keep a math journal, writing down the new ideas and concepts themselves using words and pictures in addition to numbers.
In writing, students had problems with the reasoning and the organization of ideas aspect of the test. To address this, the plan urges teachers when reading to students to stop and ask them to predict what will happen next, developing logic skills.
“Teachers have to have students retelling, relaying, and reflecting on the story,” Ellwood added.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at Robert Moore School, trustees will discuss whether to approve the $3.6-million renovation/expansion for J.W. Walker School.
Also on the agenda are criminal background checks to be performed on staff, reports on special education and transportation, and one from the Fort Frances Public Library.