Students improve test scores

Students across Rainy River District continue to show overall improvements in their EQAO scores, particularly when those scores are examined over time.
“We’re quite pleased that we’re continuing to show growth,” Jack McMaster, the new education director for the Rainy River District School Board, said Monday.
The Education Quality and Accountability Office administers tests every year in reading, writing, and math to students in Grades 3 and 6. It also tests Grade 9 students in math, as well as administers the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).
The results for Ontario students in Grades 3, 6, and 9 for the 2004/05 school year were released last week.
The local public board’s Grade 3 students showed particularly good results. Sixty-three percent of them either met or exceeded the provincial standard in reading.
This is four percent above the provincial average, though four percent below last year’s results in the same category.
Sixty-four percent of students met or exceeded the provincial standard in writing. That’s three percent higher than the provincial average and an eight percent jump over last year’s result.
It was in mathematics that the public board’s Grade 3 students really shone.
A whopping 78 percent of students met or exceeded the provincial average—that’s 10 percent above the provincial average and a remarkable 12 percent rise over last year.
What’s most important is that students are showing improvements over time, McMaster noted.
The board has compiled statistics on the net change in students results from 2000-05.
In reading, Grade 3 students have improved by 23 percent over those five years. Across the province, Grade 3 students’ scores in reading have improved by 10 percent over those same five years.
In math, the board’s Grade 3 students have improved by 25 percent in five years—compared to the provincial average of eight percent.
“It gives you a good indication the programs we have are having an impact on students learning,” McMaster noted.
In writing, the board’s Grade 3 students showed a net improvement of eight percent, compared to the provincial average of nine percent.
“We may need to look at other options in terms of writing,” McMaster admitted.
District Grade 6 students also showed improvement last year, with 62 percent succeeding in reading. While that’s one percent below the provincial average, it marks an eight percent increase over last year.
They also showed great improvement in writing, where 56 percent met or exceeded the provincial standard—compared to just 45 percent last year.
This year’s result is three percent below the provincial average.
And in math, 62 percent succeeded, compared to the average of 60 percent across the province and last year’s result of 56 percent locally.
Over the last five years, district Grade 6 students have shown remarkable progress.
In reading, their scores have improved by 18 percent since 2000. Scores across the province have increased an average of 12 percent over the same five years.
In math, the board’s Grade 6 students have improved by 24 percent, compared to eight percent across the province.
In writing, district Grade 6 students have shown 19 percent improvements in their EQAO scores, compared to the provincial average of 10 percent.
Grade 9 students across the district also showed improvement in their math scores.
Sixty-six percent of students in the academic program, and 31 percent of those in the applied one, met or exceeded the provincial standard in math.
The academic results are the same as last year’s, but are two percent below the provincial average. The applied results are a 10 percent improvement over last year and are five percent above the provincial average.
Meanwhile, Fort Frances High School was highlighted in a press release from the EQAO as being one of the schools showing the most improvement in Northwestern Ontario.
Sixty-eight percent of students in the academic program, and 32 percent of students in the applied program, met or surpassed the provincial standard.
The academic results are a three percent increase over last year, and are in line with the provincial average.
The applied results are an 11 percent improvement over last year and are five percent above the provincial average.
“We have taken many system initiatives and successfully implemented them in our school,” said Fort High principal Gord McCabe.
“We have launched strategies to assist elementary and Grade 8 teachers to prepare students for Grade 9 challenges. We are committed to bridging gaps,” he added.
“I’m very pleased at the long-term indications the data is giving us,” McMaster said. “We should also be motivated to continue to improve.”
Educators will use these results to identify areas where they need to improve their programs and to discuss teaching strategies, he added.
  The Northwest Catholic District School Board, meanwhile, also showed some improvements, with 59 percent of its Grade 3 students meeting or exceeding the provincial standard in reading.
That is right in line with the provincial average, but three percent less than last year.
Only 55 percent of students succeeded in writing, compared to 61 percent across the Ontario. Last year’s result was 65 percent.
In math, 65 percent of students succeeded. That’s one percent below the provincial average and six percent less than last year.
The Catholic board’s students showed greater improvement in Grade 6, where 63 percent met or exceeded the provincial standard in reading. That’s right in line with the provincial average, but a 14 percent increase over last year’s result in the same category.
The Grade 6 results in writing—at 62 percent—are three percent above the provincial average and an impressive 10 percent jump over last year.
In math, 59 percent of students met or exceeded the provincial standard. That’s one percent below the provincial average, but an eight percent improvement over last year.

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