EDMONTON, AB: With declining math scores for Alberta students under the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the Wildrose Official Opposition called on the NDP government to move away from experiments and implement four steps to immediately improve outcomes for students in the classroom.
The steps include:
- Clearly identify the knowledge and skills required for each grade level and entrust teachers to choose the best method of instruction for their classrooms;
- Develop a consistent provincial grading standard with traditional letter or percentage grades for Grade 5-12 students and support the practice of teachers who give a grade of zero for incomplete work;
- Improve transparency concerning student results so parents have the information they need to make decisions regarding their child’s education; and,
- Re-establish Provincial Achievement Tests for Grade 3 students.
“Alberta used to be a world leader in outcomes for students, but today we don’t even lead in Canada. We’re falling behind,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “These test scores are clear evidence that inquiry-based learning experiments for math have failed our students and we need to do more to support teachers and students getting back to the fundamentals.”
The results show that among Grade 4 students, Alberta now sits behind Ontario and Quebec, behind the Canadian average and well behind other world leaders. There are now 13.2 per cent of Grade 4 students in Alberta who lack a basic knowledge of math.
TIMSS assesses students in Grades 4 and 8, but in Alberta only Grade 4 students participated.
“It’s clear that these experimental trends in the classroom have been hurting students and their chances to succeed,” Wildrose Shadow Education Minister Leela Aheer said. “We need to know why Grade 8 students were blocked from participating, and take clear steps to improve transparency and accountability throughout the system so we can get back to what we know works.”