By Sargon Jajjo
An agency that is responsible for testing Ontario students in reading, writing and mathematics, says less than 35 per cent of students meet the provincial standard in math.
The study was done by the Education Quality and Accountability Office.
Vanessa Vakharia, the founder of The Math Guru – a math tutoring centre in Toronto, said the alarming number is not shocking.
“I looked at it comparatively, it sounds like a shocking number but it’s not that down from last year,” she told Humber News in an interview on Thursday.
EQAO says that 32 per cent of Ontario students failed to meet the provincial standard in 2015, compared to this year’s 33 per cent.
Sarah Bartman, director of Mostly Math, another tutoring centre in Toronto, said the low number of students meeting the provincial standard is worrying, although standardized testing is not the best way to measure knowledge.
“Basing someone’s ability on the result of one test is not an accurate description of their knowledge.”
Vakharia said the concerning issue is that a high amount of students in Grade 6 are failing to meet the provincial standard.
“That’s what is leading to this score [in Grade 9].”
“In elementary school, students are going through the fundamental stage,” she said.
During those fundamental years, students are expected to develop a sense of numeracy, which helps students have a better understanding of math.
“It’s something that takes time to build,” said Vakharia.
The Math Guru has experienced a higher number of elementary students this year compared to years’ prior, a suggestion that parents are beginning to realize it is better to address innumeracy at younger age.
Vakharia said some teachers in elementary school are not trained enough in teaching math which is why math tutor centres can be beneficial to students, even if the student is lacking confidence.
“Going back and teaching them the foundation skills they need to know,” said Vakharia. “Learning how to view numbers not through only worksheets, but games.”
EQAO results also showed that almost half the students in Grade 6 enjoyed reading all the time, with many saying they enjoyed reading “sometimes.”
Nearly 30 per cent of students in Grade 9 enjoyed applied mathematics, while another 35 per cent of students were undecided if they enjoyed mathematics.