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Math scores climb except in Ontario

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TORONTO—Students in every province except Ontario improved their performance in math between 2010 and 2016, according to a report released yesterday that examined the results of tests administered to eighth graders over the six-year period.

The Pan-Canadian Assessment Program report, which looked at tests taken by 27,000 students, found that Ontario students' performance in math remained stagnant while Quebec, which had the highest scores in the country, saw its results climb “significantly.”

“All provinces show a positive change in achievement in mathematics except in Ontario, where the results have remained stable,” the report said.

The finding comes just over a month before an election in Ontario in which education already has become a talking point.

Just half of Grade 6 students met Ontario's standards for math in provincially-administered standardized tests for the 2016-17 academic year, down seven percentage points from 2013.

Ontario Education minister Indira Naidoo-Harris defended the Liberal government's track record on math, noting that in spite of the plateau in yesterday's report, the province's scores still ranked second when compared to others in Canada.

“Our publicly-funded education system was exceeded only by one province with regards to mathematics, and has maintained a stable performance from the previous results,” she said.

The minister also noted the report looked at tests that took place before a $60-million investment in math programming, which was announced in 2016 and puts an average of 60 minutes per day of “protected math learning time” in the curriculum for Grades 1 through 8.

Each school now has three “math lead teachers" and more than 3,000 educators have signed up for math-focused "professional learning virtual sessions,” Naidoo-Harris said.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath has said she'll abolish standardized tests if elected.

A spokeswoman for Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford said a Tory government would get the education system “back to basics"and teach students "the fundamentals.”

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