The EQAO scores are in, and they paint a concerning picture of the state of Ontario’s education. The Education Quality and Accountability Office, also known as the EQAO, is an organization in Ontario that assesses education quality in the province’s publicly funded schools. The EQAO administers standardized tests to students in grades 3, 6, and 9 in math and grades 3, 6, and 10 in literacy. This data is then used by the government and school boards to evaluate educational effectiveness and make changes to improve student achievement.
According to the data, an alarming number of kids are struggling with basic literacy and numeracy skills. This is cause for concern, as these deficiencies could have significant implications down the road. Parents need to be aware of these troubling findings and take steps to help their children improve their academic performance. Math tutoring may be required for many Ontario students who have fallen behind in their education.
Put On Hold
These EQAO scores are the first in two years since the previous ones were put on hold during the pandemic. With students bouncing back and forth between in-class learning and virtual classes, it was difficult for the province to perform the testing that is typically done each year.
Educators and parents were eager to see the results this year because of the delay in testing. There was much speculation about how students would test after two years of disruption from the pandemic. With no testing available, it was unknown exactly how much school closures and transitions into virtual learning had affected students’ education.
Math and Literacy Hardest Hit
It was thought that the learning loss would be hit hardest in math and literacy. A handful of studies pulled data from millions of students participating in computer-adaptive tests to estimate students’ learning growth during school closures and how much that growth rate was likely to slow over the following few years.
Three studies even predicted that students might learn only half of what they normally would in a typical year. None of the research went far enough to find any specific skills students may have lost, such as content or foundations in math like number sense or fractions. However, these studies did help to show the possible overall impact that the pandemic had on students and their math learning.
Experts believe math may be more sensitive to pandemic-related disruptions for a few reasons, including:
- Teachers often find it more difficult to engage in effective math instructional practices via virtual learning.
- Stress related to the pandemic may worsen existing math anxiety in some students.
- Math is almost always formally learned at school, as parents are often less well-equipped to help their children with their lessons.
Verified Test Results
As expected, these various tests that were performed throughout the pandemic were verified with the EQAO test results. In the primary division, only 59% of students met provincial standards in math, while in the junior division, it was just 47%. For grade 9, 52% meet provincial standards. While these numbers are concerning on their own, the results get even worse when looking even further. For grade 9 students, in 2018-2019 (the last EQAO tests performed), 75% met the provincial math standards. However, these new EQAO test results drastically drop to only 52%, meeting those standards. This is the most significant gap seen across the three groups of students tested.
This is worrisome as grade 9 marks the start of high school, a time when students need to be more aware of their grades if they want to get into college/university. With only just over half of the students meeting provincial standards, it offers a bleak look into the future, where students will struggle to get into STEM-related career paths.
Does The Assessment Affect Students’ Grades?
While the EQAO assessments may not significantly impact an individual student’s grade, they can provide valuable insights into the performance trends of students as a whole. By analyzing assessment results, teachers and administrators can identify areas where the majority of students are struggling, allowing them to tailor their teaching methods and lesson plans to better address these subjects.
Assessment results can also reveal changes in student performance over time, providing valuable information for educators and parents about the success of certain teaching strategies or educational programs. While assessment results may not directly affect individual grades, they should still be regarded as valuable tools for evaluating and improving student performance overall.
What’s The Plan?
So now that these test results have been released, many parents are asking what is going to be done to help students catch up with their missed learning. While it may seem like there is no real plan to get things back on track, educators are working to implement measures to ensure that students can catch up on their education. Each school board is working to help students catch up from the lost learning experienced through the pandemic.
The Ontario government has also released their Learning Action Recovery Plan, which is designed to help students who have been struggling in school catch up and get back on track. It invests heavily in tutoring support and includes a focus on reading, math and other foundational skills, as well as targeted initiatives to address unique barriers some students may face. This will help bridge students’ learning gaps, support academic success, and focus on overall mental health and wellness. Ontario’s plan is based on the latest scientific evidence and will provide students with the necessary resources to succeed.
At Dropkick Math, we proudly offer our math tutoring services as part of the Learning Action Recovery Plan. We have partnered with school boards throughout the province and are able to offer some students FREE programs. These programs are funded by the Ontario government and offer students math help services by certified Ontario teachers.
Our programs help students boost their confidence while learning math operations. Our game-based learning offers a fun and engaging way to help those who experienced a gap in learning caused by the pandemic. Learn more about our programs and register your child for math tutoring today!