Grade 3 students performed well in Nova Scotia's 2008 provincial early elementary mathematics assessment, showing significant improvement over last year, according to results released by the Department of Education today, Dec. 18.
Seventy-two per cent of students attending English-language schools met expectations, an increase from 67 per cent in the 2007 assessment.
Students at French-language schools administered by the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, the French-language school board, also performed well, with 79 per cent meeting expectations. The students wrote the Évaluation des apprentissages en mathématiques: 1er cycle élémentaire, an assessment similar to the English assessment, but based on a different elementary mathematics curriculum.
"These results show we are moving in the right direction," said Education Minister Karen Casey. "I am especially pleased to see improvement at every board and in every area of the early elementary mathematics curriculum.
"Students and teachers have worked very hard on improving learning in mathematics and that effort, as well as our investments in the provincial math strategy, is paying off."
The assessment measured the full range of math concepts students are expected to understand by the end of Grade 3.
Students improved in each of all six areas of the mathematics curriculum addressed by the assessment, including number, operations, patterns, measurement, geometry, and data and probability. Other skills students are expected to be competent in include mental math, calculation and problem-solving.
To meet expectations, students needed to correctly answer two-thirds of the questions, a standard that was set high to reflect the level of understanding students need as a foundation for future success in mathematics.
"This assessment is giving the public school system valuable information that will help to ensure all students get the best possible start in mathematics," said Ms. Casey.
The assessment, administered to almost 8,800 Grade 3 students over three days last June, highlights each student's strengths and areas needing further development.
The assessment also found that:
-- of the 72 per cent of students meeting expectations provincially, 22 per cent showed strong performance versus 16 per cent in the 2007 assessment
-- boys outperformed girls, with 73 per cent of boys meeting expectations, compared with 71 per cent for girls.
Individual student results were sent home to parents and guardians last week. Each report indicates whether the student is meeting or not yet meeting expectations.
Teachers, who received their student's individual results in November, are using information from the assessment to select specific instructional strategies to strengthen math skills and to address the identified needs of students not yet meeting expectations.
Students most in need of help receive targeted support and intervention and their progress will be tracked by their teachers.
The Department of Education is also providing teachers in English programs with Mathematics 4: A Support Resource, as well as a similar resource for grade 5 teachers. These resources, created by the department and a team of Nova Scotia teachers with expertise in elementary mathematics, provides teachers with information and instructional strategies to improve each student's understanding of mathematics.
"We can still do much better," said Ms. Casey. "We will continue to focus on improving our results and providing support for all students. That includes students who did not meet expectations, as well as those who performed well overall on the assessment, but may still need help in certain areas of the math curriculum."
Results of the assessment are available at http://plans.ednet.ns.ca
. More detailed information, including school by school results will be available in the minister's report to parents, which will be published this spring.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Seventy-two per cent of Grade three students met
expectations in Nova Scotia's provincial elementary mathematics
The assessment, administered to 88-hundred students last
June, evaluated a full range of math concepts students are
expected to understand by the end of Grade 3, including
calculations, mental math and problem-solving.
Students who did not meet expectations in the assessment
will receive additional support to strengthen their math skills.
Individual student results have been sent home to parents
and guardians. Teachers received detailed results several weeks
ago and are using the information to better focus their
Media Contact: Peter McLaughlin
Department of Education