With thousands of children returning to elementary school today, there are still big questions about what kind of math instruction they’re going to receive.
Only 50 per cent of Grade 6 students met the provincial standard last year. When standardized testing was introduced, there were concerns teachers might focus too much on helping pupils pass those exams and not on other fundamentals. Obviously that hasn’t happened.
One of the main reasons is that there aren’t very many consequences when a school doesn’t perform well on the tests. The system is set up to gather the information but not really to act on it in any serious way. And there are lots of elementary teachers who don’t like math and have no training in it. If they don’t enjoy teaching it, why would children enjoy learning from them?
And there are obvious issues with the curriculum in Ontario, which might help to explain why students just across the river in Quebec do so much better. The evidence is out there. It doesn’t take rocket science, or even basic math, to know we can and must do better.