Grade three students here scored within two or three percent of the provincial average during the standardized testing conducted last May, teacher Sylvia Parker told public school board trustees during their regular meeting last night.
Parker, who works with curriculum services in Atikokan, said 79 percent of the board’s students achieved at Levels 2, 3, and 4 in the reading portion of the test, 90 percent in writing portion, and 80 percent in mathematics.
Numbers for reading and math were down from the testing done in May, 1997 but Parker said it was hard to make a comparison between the two sets of results.
“When you look at these results, you have to keep in mind a couple of things,” she noted, namely that the first set of grade three assessment took place over 10 days while the most recent one took place over five.
“This assessment is being used as a baseline assessment,” Parker added. “In the future years, we can look back at this assessment [to check progress].”
Surveys of parents, teachers, and students also were done in conjunction with the standardized testing. Parker noted some of the more interesting findings were:
•98 percent of parents read school newsletters and 87 percent are satisfied with the communications between educators and homes;
•60 percent of grade three girls viewed reading as fun but only 40 percent of grade three boys felt the same way (those numbers change to 71 percent and 51 percent for writing and 55 percent and 62 percent for math); and
•80 percent of teachers indicated they have limited opportunities to meet with people in similar grades to discuss curriculum development.
While the local school board is on par with the provincial average, both seem to fall short of the Ministry of Education’s Level 3 standard (70-79 percent).
“The implication [from the ministry] was if you didn’t pass this test, you didn’t pass on to the next grade,” noted trustee Dennis Brunn, acclaimed as the board’s new chairman last night.
Parker explained the Level 3 standard the province has set is just that—and a very high one to boot. Nothing has been legislated saying you must hold children back who score a Level 2.
That decision has been left for those at the board level, she said.
“These assessments are one indicator of student performance,” Parker remarked. “We really need to look at the full year and what our school kids are doing on a daily basis.”