TLDSB students testing below provincial average

TLDSB began its staggered start to the school year Sept. 8. File photo.

Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) director of education, Wes Hahn, believes student learning is “moving in the right direction” board-wide after the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) reported an increase in local student achievement in the 2021/22 school year, though still down in many areas when compared to the provincial average. EQAO tests assess students’ literacy and math skills during Grades 3, 6, 9 and 10. 

Testing resumed virtually in the spring following a two-year COVID-19 enforced absence. Seventy per cent of Grade 3 students across TLDSB are reading at the provincial standard, up from 67 per cent in 2018/19; 57 per cent are meeting the provincial standards for writing, the same as in 2018/19; and 56 per cent are meeting the minimum expectations in math, up from 53 per cent three years ago. 

Despite these improvements, TLDSB students come in under the provincial average in each category. Seventy-three per cent of students province-wide met the minimum standards for reading, 65 per cent for writing and 59 per cent for math literacy. 

There were some improvements at the Grade 6 level too. 

Seventy-eight per cent of TLDSB students can read at a grade equity level, up from 76 per cent in 2018/19; 75 per cent are writing to the provincial standard, up from 73 per cent in 2018/19. Meanwhile, just 40 per cent of students are hitting provincial targets for math, down from 42 per cent in 2018/19. These were all down from the provincial average for reading (85 per cent), writing (84 per cent) and math (47 per cent). 

At the high school level, 45 per cent of Grade 9s met provincial standards during math testing, down from the provincial average of 52 per cent. 

Hahn noted it was difficult to compare these results from prior years since new de-streamed math courses, introduced by the province in September 2021, replaced the old applied and academic teaching practices. 

In 2018/19, 57 per cent of TLDSB students enrolled in applied met provincial standards, up from the provincial average of 44 per cent, while 86 per cent of those taking academic courses met the minimum expectations, up from 84 per cent province wide. Grade 10 students who took the literacy test in TLDSB fared better than the provincial average. At the applied level, 57 per cent were found to meet provincial expectations, up from 50 per cent Ontario wide; 92 per cent of those enrolled in academic classes passed the test, up from the provincial average of 91 per cent. 

Hahn noted an in-depth report on EQAO testing would be delivered at a Dec. 6 board meeting. “This is a good indicator of our baseline, where we’re starting. We have a lot of work to do, but in the elementary [level] we’ve seen four of our six areas improve, which is a testament to the staff and their commitment to learning through a very difficult time period,” Hahn said.

 “We have a lot of work to do in our math area, across the board. We will continue to make this a focus moving forward.”

 New board 

There were four new faces inside the boardroom at the Lindsay Education Centre Nov. 22 as the new TLDSB board of trustees met for its inaugural meeting. 

Heather Bradley, Tim McAlpine, Esther Childs and Deb McInerney were each welcomed by returning board member Bruce Reain, who is back as board chair for a third successive term. 

He will be joined by familiar faces Louise Clodd, who will serve as vice chair, Haliburton County trustee Gary Brohman, Judy Saunders and Colleen Wilcox. “I look forward to working with everyone. It’s been a couple of tough years and I’m pleased with the job we did as a board, the strategic plan we developed and how we’re focusing on that. It’s our job now [to guide that work forward],” Reain said.