Test results show Alberta students seem to be doing well in their subjects, with one exception.
Nearly one in five grade six math students didn’t meet the provincial standard in their achievement tests.
Edmonton Catholic School Board Chair Marilyn Bergstra tells Global News that part of the issue is increasing class sizes, a larger number of students for whom English is a second language, but also that math teachers can be hard to come by.
“Our district can’t fill all those positions with teachers that have the degree of mathematical training that would be ideal.” says Bergstra.
Education Minister David Eggen tells the Alberta Morning News he recognizes the problem, and is already talking to post-secondary institutions to try and encourage more math-focused graduates.
Both the schools and Eggen recognize the area that needs most work is numeracy, where students solve basic number problems in their heads.
Eggen says they’re already making changes.
“In regards to grade six curriculum program of studies and the PAT tests,” he says, “I’ve put a 15 question calculator section on there to try to encourage that kind of numeracy and skill.”
Over at Edmonton Public Schools, Superintendent is Darrel Robertson tells Global News his teachers have been using their own assessment exams to identify where students need most help.
“And so we’re putting interventions in place.” says Robertson. “We’re looking at that data, we’re doing professional development around that data, and I think we’re on the right track in regards to improving our math results even more.” (ms, Global News, Alberta Morning News)