Math a breeze at LRHS

The Queens County Advance - - NEWS - By Nick Moase

The Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter’s Re­port to Par­ents and Guardians, re­leased on July 16, shows the South Shore Re­gional School Board is on the path to im­prove­ment.

The re­port fo­cuses on math­e­mat­ics and lan­guage arts test re­sults, writ­ten in 2008. The test is de­vel­oped by the prov­ince, and all stu­dents write them at the same time across the prov­ince. The scores re­flected are the num­ber of stu­dents who passed, rather than an av­er­age grade.

School Board Su­per­in­ten­dent, Nancy Pynch-Wor­thy­lake was pleased to see the re­sults, and says at­ten­tion to math lit­er­acy is hav­ing an im­pact.

How­ever she adds the re­sults should not be seen as a com­plete pic­ture of each school.

“ Th­ese re­sults are one piece of the im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion of school im­prove­ment.”

The re­sults are taken se­ri­ously, she says, and when the staff re­turns in mid-Au­gust strate­gies to im­prove the marks are dis­cussed.

When last year’s re­sults were re­leased, the early math re­sults caused some con­tro­versy. It was the first year the test re­sults were made pub­lic, and teach­ers feared it would give an un­fair por­trayal of the schools.

Since last year, the SSRSB’s early math lit­er­acy shot up 10 per cent, from 66 to 76.

Dr. John C. Wick­wire had 71 per cent of 59 stu­dents pass­ing, while North Queens ele­men­tary had 75 per cent of 24 stu­dents pass­ing. The pro­vin­cial av­er­age is 72 per cent.

One area of con­cern is high school math­e­mat­ics. For the SSRSB, the av­er­age was 36 per cent of stu­dents pass­ing Math 12. The pro­vin­cial av­er­age is 51 per cent.

The school board is work­ing to­gether with math con­sul­tants and high school teach­ers, on how to im­prove the re­sults. Pynch-Wor­thy­lake says each school has to be looked at in­di­vid­u­ally, since the pass­ing per cent can vary greatly.

Pynch-Wor­thy­lake says the fo­cus on math has mostly been on Grade Pri­mary to 9, so it will take a lit­tle time to see it have an im­pact on Grade 12 math­e­mat­ics.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing, but it’s not a sur­prise we’re not see­ing an im­me­di­ate im­pact.”

How­ever one bright note is Liver­pool Re­gional High School, which is well above the pro­vin­cial av­er­age. Of the 31 stu­dents, 84 per cent passed the tests.

Terry Doucette, prin­ci­pal of LRHS, says tra­di­tion­ally the school has done well in both English and Math as­sess­ments, and says both de­part­ments are very strong.

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is strong be­tween the math teach­ers. Plus they’re ex­pe­ri­enced teach­ers,” he says.

Doucette says the qual­ity of the math depart­ment comes from the ex­pe­ri­ence of the teach­ers, plus a ded­i­ca­tion they give to the stu­dents.

“I as prin­ci­pal am very proud of our stu­dents and staff.”

There is no data for North Queens Ru­ral High School. The re­port states schools with small class sizes are not in­cluded be­cause the marks could be linked to in­di­vid­ual stu­dents.

Lan­guage Arts Lit­er­acy rates re­mained largely the same, with read­ing com­pre­hen­sion drop­ping one point from 86 to 85 per cent of stu­dents pass­ing. The pro­vin­cial av­er­age is 85 per cent.

How­ever writ­ing skills were up one point, from 89 to 90 per cent. The pro­vin­cial av­er­age is 92 per cent.

Pynch-Wor­thy­lake sug­gests par­ents who see the re­sults and have con­cerns talk with the teach­ers at the school. That way, they can talk about the in­di­vid­ual stu­dent’s re­sults on this and other as­sess­ments.

“Teach­ers would ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity to do that, be­cause our fo­cus has to be on stu­dent by stu­dent re­sults.”

The re­sults of all schools through­out the prov­ince are avail­able on­line at www.ed­net.ns.ca.

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