Go fig­ure: Math gap per­sists

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY STEVEN WARBURTON News Staff

French-lan­guage stu­dents con­tinue to out­per­form their English coun­ter­parts, ac­cord­ing to the Ed­u­ca­tion Qual­ity and Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice’s an­nual re­port, which was re­leased last week.

That’s not a new de­vel­op­ment ei­ther. For many years, stu­dents at French-lan­guage schools have fared bet­ter on the an­nual tests that mea­sure read­ing, writ­ing, and math­e­mat­ics.

The dif­fer­ence is most no­tice­able in Grade 6 math, where only 50 per cent of On­tario’s English board stu­dents meet the pro­vin­cial stan­dard. In the French boards, that rate soars to 82 per cent.

At a lo­cal level, the pass rate for an­glo­phone stu­dents is much more dis­mal. Both the Catholic District School Board of East­ern On­tario and the Up­per Canada District School Board recorded pass rates of 50 per cent. For the lo­cal French Catholic board and pub­lic board, those rates are 78 and 83 re­spec­tively, which are much closer to the pro­vin­cial av­er­age.

It’s a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion at the Grade 3 level where math pass rates for the French boards hover around the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 76 per cent. In that same cat­e­gory, the English Catholic and pub­lic boards are be­low the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 62 per cent. The pub­lic board has a rate of 52 while the Catholic rate is 54. Both boards, as well as the prov­ince as a whole, ex­pe­ri­enced five-year lows there.

Grade 9 fares bet­ter

How­ever, it’s not all doom and gloom for the English boards. On Sept. 20, the Up­per Canada District School Board is­sued a me­dia re­lease not­ing that its stu­dents are steadily im­prov­ing in Grade 9 aca­demic math and the Grade 10 On­tario Sec­ondary School Lit­er­ary Test, achiev­ing pass rates of 76 and 74 re­spec­tively. That’s a one per cent im­prove­ment in both cat­e­gories over the 2015-16 re­sults.

Con­versely, the board’s pass rate for Grade 9 ap­plied math­e­mat­ics was only 35 per cent (an­other five-year low) while the pro­vin­cial av­er­age stands at 44 per cent.

The Catholic District School Board of East­ern On­tario en­joyed a 50 per cent pass rate for Grade 9 ap­plied math­e­mat­ics. In aca­demic math, it rose to 85 per cent.

For the French Catholic board (Con­seil sco­laire de district catholique de l'Est on­tarien), the Grade 9 pass rate in ap­plied math was sim­i­lar to the Up­per Canada Board, only 37 per cent; the pro­vin­cial av­er­age is 44. At the aca­demic level, it rose to 83 per cent, which hov­ers around the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 85.

At the French Pub­lic level, the pass rates for ap­plied and aca­demic math at the Grade 9 level are 62 and 93 per cent re­spec­tively.


Try­ing to fig­ure out why there are such dis­crep­an­cies be­tween the English and French boards has not been easy. So­phie Au­clair, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer with the EQAO, says her or­ga­ni­za­tion does not an­a­lyze the data, though she ad­mits that she’s re­ceived sev­eral calls from peo­ple won­der­ing why there’s such a dif­fer­ence. The cur­ricu­lum is the same no mat­ter what lan­guage you study in.

One pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion is that the English boards have a higher per­cent­age of stu­dents with spe­cial needs. At the Grade 3 level, 33 per cent of Up­per Canada District School Board stu­dents have spe­cial needs. At the Catholic board, it’s 37 per cent.

The pro­vin­cial av­er­age is 18 per cent. In Grade 6, 32 per cent of Up­per Canada stu­dents have spe­cial needs while at the Catholic board, the rate is 39. The pro­vin­cial av­er­age: 22.

Only 19 per cent of the lo­cal French Catholic board’s Grade 3 stu­dents are listed as spe­cial needs. At the Grade 6 level, it’s 23 per cent. The pro­vin­cial av­er­ages are 18 and 21 re­spec­tively.

At the French Pub­lic board, 16 per cent of Grade 3 stu­dents are listed as spe­cial needs. It’s 17 per cent in Grade 6.

De­spite the lower than av­er­age num­bers, it should be noted that some lo­cal schools are per­form­ing re­mark­ably well, at least as far as the EQAO is con­cerned. Lag­gan Pub­lic School, for ex­am­ple, has long been an over­achiev­ing school and this year is no dif­fer­ent. The school met or ex­ceeded the pro­vin­cial av­er­age in ev­ery cat­e­gory, even achiev­ing 100 per cent pass rates in Grade 6 read­ing and writ­ing. While 86 per cent of its Grade 6 stu­dents met the pro­vin­cial stan­dard in math­e­mat­ics, it was well above the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 50 per cent and well above the board av­er­age of 39. Like­wise, the Grade 3 stu­dents did re­mark­ably well in read­ing and writ­ing; 88 per cent of them achieved the stan­dard in their tests while 62 per cent met it in math, equal to the pro­vin­cial av­er­age. At Wil­liamstown Pub­lic, the stu­dents are, for the most part, per­form­ing around the pro­vin­cial av­er­age. Whereas 80 per cent of its Grade 3 stu­dents met the pro­vin­cial stan­dard in read­ing and writ­ing, it was only in one cat­e­gory, Grade 6 math, where the stu­dents fell well short of the pro­vin­cial av­er­age with only 40 per cent meet­ing the stan­dard. Iona Acad­emy also did fairly well, with Grade 3 pro­vin­cial stan­dard rates of 80 per cent, 93 per cent, and 73 per cent in read­ing, writ­ing, and math­e­mat­ics re­spec­tively. At the Grade 6 level, those rates were 87, 96, and 52. At St. Fin­nan’s in Alexan­dria, Grade 3 stu­dents achieved pass rates of 69, 74, and 62 in those same cat­e­gories. In Grade 6 they were 80, 80, and 52. Maxville Pub­lic Grade 3 re­sults: 60, 83, and 60. In Grade 6: 86, 91, and 43. Elda-Rouleau Grade 3: 83, 85, 78. Grade 6: 89, 86, 89. Terre-des-Je­unes Grade 3: 80, 72, 72. Grade 6: 84, 84, 78. Ange-Gar­dien Grade 3: 73, 70, 78. Grade 6: 92, 87, 89.


FRANCO PRIDE: Le Re­lais teacher Marie-Josée Larocque ac­com­pa­nied stu­dent An­gelina Gen­dreau to Is­land Park in Alexan­dria on Mon­day morn­ing for the an­nual fran­coon­tarien flag day. More images in­side.

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