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Math scores on the rise

Region's elementary results were best in Nova Scotia in 2010
by Stacey Colwell

 COUNTY - The South Shore Regional School Board's early elementary math literacy assessment results spiked last year, and are now the best in Nova Scotia, but senior staff aren't exactly celebrating.

 "It's nice to be on top - we're very proud - but it can go from top to middle to bottom very quickly," said co-ordinator of programs Mark MacLeod.

 "It's just one assessment. The best assessment tools to me are the classroom assessments that teachers do ... they do a variety of balanced, quality assessments, whether it's quizzes, journals, observations, whatever."

 The board's recently released results from the June 2010 standardized tests for Grade 3 students revealed 81 per cent were meeting expectations, up from 72 per cent in 2009 and five percentage points better than any other board.

 In Lunenburg County, individual school results varied from 65 per cent at Aspotogan Consolidated Elementary to between 93 and 95 per cent at Bridgewater Elementary, Hebbville and Lunenburg Academy.

 Pentz, New Germany, Centre and Petite were between 71 and 75 per cent, while New Ross scored 90 per cent.

 "We take that data, kind of drill a little deeper and we say, 'What are the schools that are really doing well doing?' Then we share that with all our schools, and the ones that are struggling, let's work on improving."

 All the other local schools whose percentage of students meeting expectations were listed landed between 79 and 84 per cent.

 The results are also broken down further into geometry, number operations, measurements, etc., "So we can delve further into, say, geometry, and put further efforts into that if it's a worry."

 The program co-ordinator attributed the improvement of the board's overall results in part to its recent focus on math mentors, positions which have been eliminated in 2011-12 along with the math consultant position as part of provincial budget cutbacks.

 "We're losing two important pieces there," said Mr. MacLeod.

 "There was someone in each building who was sort of the math guru who could help staff in terms of dialogue, collaboration, best practices and providing support. Those pieces really worked well, and now next year we're going to be without those pieces."

 To see other standardized exam results released in this year's Minister's Report to Parents, or for more information, check on-line at http://www.ednet.ns.ca.



posted on 07/05/11
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