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Math Proficiency Test (for Teachers in Ontario) [can't teach if you fail]

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  • Oct 17th, 2019 1:19 pm
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Oct 6, 2019
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Math Proficiency Test (for Teachers in Ontario) [can't teach if you fail]

It looks like all new teachers will have to take (and pass) a math test before being allowed to teach in Ontario. It won't affect any teachers who are already licensed, but it's definitely an additional hurdle for teachers who just recently had to go from a 1-year to a 2-year program in Ontario.

It looks like more info will be coming soon, but there is some important info here:
http://www.eqao.com/en/assessments/math ... -test.aspx
24 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2018
1736 posts
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Don't see what's wrong with this. How can you teach math if you can't even pass a proficiency test yourself? I'm actually surprised this isn't a thing currently.
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2012
1981 posts
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How hard is the math exam relative to elementary math? Elementary math wasn't difficult by any means and that is the only math that is would be mandatory to be taught by teachers so a teacher should be able to pass this test to be able to be qualified to teach at an elementary school level. High school teachers in other subjects (ie English or Geography) wouldn't need high school level math.
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Dec 27, 2007
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High school level of math is also super basic. Surprised they don't have to do this before they teach
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Feb 8, 2006
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tmkf_patryk wrote:
Oct 8th, 2019 12:31 am
High school level of math is also super basic. Surprised they don't have to do this before they teach
Well to teach high school math you had to have math as a teachable, which requires a certain amount of credits in university level mathematics.
buffylover wrote:
Apr 6th, 2007 5:44 pm
im pretty sure thincrust hates you
Member
Nov 22, 2017
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Folks should understand more barriers to entry for a profession, the higher the salary demand is.
Jr. Member
Sep 16, 2017
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This should be a no-brainer. Every teacher should have proficiency in atleast high school level math regardless of grade being taught. No need for lazy types to infiltrate a profession and profit for years off of taxpayers when they aren't smarter than their own students.
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Extrahard wrote:
Oct 9th, 2019 12:26 pm
Folks should understand more barriers to entry for a profession, the higher the salary demand is.
This is a basic test though so highly doubt salary demands would go up.
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Aug 16, 2005
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ConnieJBuckler1 wrote:
Oct 7th, 2019 7:24 pm
It looks like all new teachers will have to take (and pass) a math test before being allowed to teach in Ontario. It won't affect any teachers who are already licensed, but it's definitely an additional hurdle for teachers who just recently had to go from a 1-year to a 2-year program in Ontario.
Well this is a problem because some of the currently licensed teachers can't or shouldn't be teaching math in my opinion. Not that it matters but there is a reason why EQAO results are so poor over the years and I also blame the TDSB "discovery" math curriculum too.
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Dec 5, 2006
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This is still a new thing and people still discuss it tell alot about current education system
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Keep in mind this is in the context of Ontario math scores being TERRIBLE. Like, abysmal. And a solid foundation in math spills over to other aspects of life - it’s good to know the basics of statistical analysis if you want to be sociologist, good to know basic probability theory even if you want to be a truck driver (so you’re not wasting money on lottery tickets), and of course there are the benefits to personal finance. All of this is rooted in a good basic knowledge of math from like grade 6 to 10 (do kids still have to take math classes in grades 11 and 12? I think they become optional at that point).

A lot of our friends have their grade school and high school level kids enrolled with math tutors. And it has paid off, even for the ones who aren’t interested in pursuing a math, business, or finance career. So if the people who have the means to give their children the advantage of additional education (and not just buy them an iWatxh or video game or whatever) are doing it, what does that say for the system we currently have in place, and all those kids who don’t have parents with means to supplement their seemingly inadequate math classes in school? Not good.
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TodayHello wrote:
Oct 13th, 2019 9:23 am
Keep in mind this is in the context of Ontario math scores being TERRIBLE. Like, abysmal.
Nice hyperbole. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how you can back it up. Ontario students certainly have room for improvement, but to suggest that they are "terrible" and "abysmal" is absurd. On the 2015 international PISA assessment of 15-year-olds, Ontario students scored 509. This would rank us 11th internationally. This score sits Ontario ahead of Germany, Belgium, Australia, France, the UK, and the USA. We fall 2 points below Alberta, 13 behind BC and a whopping 35 behind Quebec. It should be noted that Quebec is such a large outlier that despite being in third place nationally, Alberta falls below the national average. Quebec does so well on this assessment that they would be third had they been a country. Their score of 544 is 4 back of Hong Kong and 20 back of first place Singapore.

The 2015 Pan-Canadian Assessment of 8th graders across the country found that Ontario students ranked 2nd in mathematics, only behind Quebec. Once again, Quebec is such a large outlier that despite coming in second, Ontario falls below the national average.
And a solid foundation in math spills over to other aspects of life - it’s good to know the basics of statistical analysis if you want to be sociologist, good to know basic probability theory even if you want to be a truck driver (so you’re not wasting money on lottery tickets), and of course there are the benefits to personal finance. All of this is rooted in a good basic knowledge of math from like grade 6 to 10 (do kids still have to take math classes in grades 11 and 12? I think they become optional at that point).


These are good examples of how math can be applied in the real world; unfortunately, this isn't a focus. Probability and data management are taught in Grade 8 and then not again until Grade 12 Data Management - a credit that isn't even recognized by most programs as a Grade 12 U math. Personal finance isn't a significant part of the math curriculum except for the Grade 11 and Grade 12 college or workplace level maths. You start your post by using Ontario's math scores to justify your criticism of the curriculum but then you highlight the importance of topics that those scores aren't even a reflection of. So, which is it?
A lot of our friends have their grade school and high school level kids enrolled with math tutors. And it has paid off, even for the ones who aren’t interested in pursuing math, business, or finance career. So if the people who have the means to give their children the advantage of additional education (and not just buy them an iWatxh or video game or whatever) are doing it, what does that say for the system we currently have in place, and all those kids who don’t have parents with means to supplement their seemingly inadequate math classes in school? Not good.
In my experience as a tutor, parents send their kids to tutoring to boost or maintain their grades. Most tutors will work through homework and show examples of how to solve problems. I don't think that many parents send their kids to tutoring to develop a real understanding and appreciation of the math itself.
mwong168 wrote:
Oct 11th, 2019 11:13 am
Well this is a problem because some of the currently licensed teachers can't or shouldn't be teaching math in my opinion. Not that it matters but there is a reason why EQAO results are so poor over the years and I also blame the TDSB "discovery" math curriculum too.
The "discovery" math is not a TDSB thing. In fact, it's not even an Ontario thing. The term "discovery math" appears exactly ZERO times in the Ontario math curriculum documents. Besides, EQAO teacher surveys found that 91%+ of teachers used direct instruction and independent work as their primary teaching methods. Even if "discover math" was in the curriculum, it's not being applied in the classroom. Besides, from speaking to a few people that criticized "discovery" math, it's clear that many don't understand what it is. It's not about the teacher putting their feet up on the desk and letting kids figure out the math. It's more about providing students with the opportunity to work through problems that they haven't seen before and identify the tool(s) that they need to solve that problem. In some cases, students may describe a tool that they don't have yet, at which point the teacher would take the opportunity to introduce that tool.

There is a perception among most parents, students, and even teachers that to be "good at math" means to be able to solve problems and get the right answer and do well on tests. Well, let me give you this scenario: let's say I'm teaching a unit on algebra to a group of Grade 8 students. We spend a few weeks looking at patterns and representing patterns and solving equations and graphing lines etc. I give them a quiz and some reviews and tell them when the test will be. Fast-forward 6 months. We've moved on to other things. One day, the students show up to rows and columns of separated seats and a package face down on each desk. It's the same test that I gave them 6 months prior. The difference is that I didn't warn them about it and they had no time to study. What would you anticipate the results on the second test would be? If you believe that kids would do worse on the second test, then was the first test assessing their understanding of the material or was it assessing their ability to temporarily remember things that they recently studied?

This obsession with scores and tests and tutoring and getting answers is so wrong. Imagine if a carpentry school were to have an entire 3 week course on how to use a lathe, and then another 3 week course on how to use a planer, and another on how to use a table saw, then how to use hammers, then how to measure angles, but then never asked the students to actually build anything with those skills. That would be kind of absurd. Similarly, imagine a science class that taught students how to use a microscope and about different cells and the parts of cells but then never let them explore the cells with the microscope and discover some of those differences from themselves. Or a music class that taught how to read notes and how to play scales and how to write music but never played a song. Or a language class that only taught how to spell words and how to read words and how to follow grammar conventions but never provided an opportunity to write a report or to write a narrative or to read a poem or analyze a novel. Math classes, as they've been traditionally taught, do exactly that. They make kids sit down and learn individual skills without any context and with no opportunity to apply them in any meaningful way. You end up with some kids that are "good" students and are compliant and do what you ask and other students that don't care and don't do well. The thing that's missing from both groups is engagement. Students can often be compliant without being engaged, and our math students in this province are rarely being engaged. They accept things for what they are as they're told and never bother to question why because the curiosity is never allowed to come out. Why is x/0 undefined? Why is x^0=1? Why can't we take the square root of a negative number... and is it true that we really can't? How do computers convert to binary and back? How can I construct and predict the behaviour of three-dimensional objects using two-dimensional shapes? I could go on and on but the curiosity and creativity in math are severely lacking, and making a push to basics and putting test results on a pedestal is going in the opposite direction.

Here's a specific anecdote from my class two weeks ago. I was doing an introductory lesson on fractions to my Grade 8 class in which I gave groups of 3-4 a circle which was divided into 4 or 5 sections by straight lines. The task was to find a fractional representation of each piece of the circle. I intended to get students to start thinking about estimating fractions and relating pieces to benchmark fractions and just get their prior knowledge from Grade 7 to the forefront. I did not believe that the students had the tools to come up with a precise fraction representing each piece. Some groups counted the squares on the grid paper and "guessed" at the sizes of the squares cut off by the curve of the circle. In any case, I figured that they didn't have the tools to give precise answers. One student proved me wrong, and he did it using nothing but skills that he learned in Grade 7. The first thing that he did was draw two chords on the circle and find the point of intersection of their perpendicular bisectors. Doing this, he found the midpoint of the circle. He used that midpoint to draw a measure of a radius that he used to calculate the area. He then drew various radii from the midpoint to the points of intersection between the pieces and the circle, used a protractor to find the angle of those slices, represented those slices as a fraction of that angle / 360 and used that to find the area, measured various triangles that were leftover, calculated their area, added it all up and came up with a precise answer. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement, but this is what math is. All of the tools that he used were Grade 7 or 8 tools - chords, perpendicular bisectors, area of a circle, area of a triangle, using a protractor, fractions, degrees in a circle. Most of the kids in that class would do well on a test of finding area or shapes, or on a test of bisecting line segments and angles, or on a test of operations with fractions; however, when it comes to taking those individual tools and putting them together in a way that they haven't seen before to solve a problem that they're unfamiliar with, they give up before they even try. That is a consequence of the attitudes that people have towards math and it's resulting in kids who are terrified of being wrong, who have terrible anxiety around tests because they're often the only chance they have to show what they know, and who won't take risks and challenge themselves because they're used to math being short, simple, black and white problems that are easily recognized and solved.

The Ontario curriculum is often being blamed for declining math scores even though EQAO teacher surveys still show that almost all teachers use direct instruction as their primary method of teaching. The achievement chart that we must use to assess students defines the following categories - Knowledge and Understanding, Application, Thinking, and Communication. Despite that, most people would stop at Knowledge (not even understanding... I feel that those two should be separated) when describing what they think makes a good math person. Here's another example of what I mean. In Grade 7, students learn how to find the volume and surface area of a rectangular prism. In Grade 8, they learn how to find the area of a circle (although most of my students learned this before the start of this year). So, I asked my class a few weeks ago if they knew how to find the volume of a rectangular prism that was 3cm x 4cm x 5cm. Almost all of the hands confidently went up. Then I asked them to tell me the area of a circle with a radius of 5cm. Most hands confidently went up. Then I asked them to tell me the volume of a cylinder with a width of 8cm and a height of 10cm. "We never learned this" was the response I got. And they're right. They were never explicitly taught how to find the volume of a cylinder, but they certainly have all of the tools that they ought to need. A rectangular prism is a right prism, and a right prism can be constructed in theory by starting with a two-dimensional shape and then stacking a number of congruent shapes on top of that to give it height. The volume of the entire prism is equal to the size of the original two-dimensional shape multiplied by how many you have in the stack, i.e. the height. This is a conceptual understanding of right prisms, and if students had this conceptual understanding, they'd be able to figure out that a cylinder works the same way. They simply need to multiply the area of the base by the height. The only difference is that the base is a circle, but most of them knew how to find the area of a circle, so that isn't a problem. The problem is that they've never been explicitly taught how to work with cylinder before, and rather than think about it for a while, they just said: "nope, can't do it."

Here's what I'd like to see happen:

1. Specialized math teachers way before Grade 9. Students in Quebec begin seeing specialized math teachers in Grade 6, and those teachers have specific training in mathematics.
2. A deeper focus on fewer concepts in the early grades. I'd like to see only number sense and patterning in Grades 1 and 2. I'd like to see geometry slowly introduced in Grade 3, followed by measurement and data management through the junior grades. Our students need to have a much deeper understanding of how numbers work and things like place value.
3. An explicit effort to teach problem solving and complex problems in the junior and intermediate grades. And this doesn't mean using some contrived strategy like "CUBES" or "CHASE" to circle key words and underline key numbers in some meaningless word problem. Simply asking a problem using words does not make it problem solving. Problem solving means giving kids a task that can be solved using a variety of different tools that they already have, but that they haven't ever seen before. We need this to develop perseverence and confidence and stamina, as well as an understanding that it's okay not to know what to do at first, it's okay to get something wrong, and there's value in making mistakes.
4. A heavier focus on applicable mathematics throughout the intermediate and senior grades, such as a mandatory personal finance (0.5 credits) & 0.5 statistics and marketing (0.5 credits) course which teaches students about interest, loans, investments, mortgages, buying vs. renting, budgeting, as well as advertising strategies, identifying bias in polling, identifying bias in statistical representations etc.
5. More resources available to teachers to support all of this. Textbooks are easy. They're very easy. You just follow them chapter by chapter, they include homework, they include answers, they include test reviews and quizzes. There's no planning required to use a textbook since it's all done for you. It's obvious why many teachers fall back on the textbook given all of the other planning and assessment that we need to do for all of our other subjects. But a math program that relies heavily on a textbook doesn't have the room for meaningful math learning that students can engage with. The problem is that we've got no alternative. You're either using a textbook, or using something that's very similar to a textbook, or running a math program that's pieced together from various sources that take forever to go through and modify and then deliver.

I think that there is a lot that we can do to improve math learning in this province. I also think that those who approach the issue of math in Ontario with the context of trying to "improve math scores" are missing the point. Most students won't go into the applied sciences or maths and by putting the focus on scores we're prioritizing certain pedagogies that lead to higher scores. We're doing this despite not having any data to suggest a positive correlation between those scores and any sort of future success (does a chef need to take Grade 11 functions? what about a mechanic? a pilot? an accountant (well, yes they do to get into university, but do they ever apply those principles?), an electrician? a lawyer? a small business owner?). This comes at an opportunity cost of teaching math in a way that can develop transferable skills such as collaboration, synthesizing ideas, communication, defending one's point of view, overcoming obstacles, accepting and reflecting on failure etc. That's my take on it anyway, for what it's worth.
Last edited by OntEdTchr on Oct 17th, 2019 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dec 5, 2006
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Markham
OntEdTchr wrote:
Nice hyperbole. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how you can back it up. Ontario students certainly have room for improvement, but to suggest that they are "terrible" and "abysmal" is absurd. On the 2015 international PISA assessment of 15-year-olds, Ontario students scored 509. This would rank us 11th internationally. This score sits Ontario ahead of Germany, Belgium, Australia, France, the UK, and the USA. We fall 2 points below Alberta, 13 behind BC and a whopping 35 behind Quebec. It should be noted that Quebec is such a large outlier that despite being in third place nationally, Alberta falls below the national average. Quebec does so well on this assessment that they would be third had they been a country. Their score of 544 is 4 back of Hong Kong and 20 back of first place Singapore.

The 2015 Pan-Canadian Assessment of 8th graders across the country found that Ontario students ranked 2nd in mathematics, only behind Quebec. Once again, Quebec is such a large outlier that despite coming in second, Ontario falls below the national average.



These are good examples of how math can be applied in the real world; unfortunately, this isn't a focus. Probability and data management are taught in Grade 8 and then not again until Grade 12 Data Management - a credit that isn't even recognized by most programs as a Grade 12 U math. Personal finance isn't a significant part of the math curriculum except for the Grade 11 and Grade 12 college or workplace level maths. You start your post by using Ontario's math scores to justify your criticism of the curriculum but then you highlight the importance of topics that those scores aren't even a reflection of. So, which is it?



In my experience as a tutor, parents send their kids to tutoring to boost or maintain their grades. Most tutors will work through homework and show examples of how to solve problems. I don't think that many parents send their kids to tutoring to develop a real understanding and appreciation of the math itself.


The "discovery" math is not a TDSB thing. In fact, it's not even an Ontario thing. The term "discovery math" appears exactly ZERO times in the Ontario math curriculum documents. Besides, EQAO teacher surveys found that 91%+ of teachers used direct instruction and independent work as their primary teaching methods. Even if "discover math" was in the curriculum, it's not being applied in the classroom. Besides, from speaking to a few people that criticized "discovery" math, it's clear that many don't understand what it is. It's not about the teacher putting their feet up on the desk and letting kids figure out the math. It's more about providing students with the opportunity to work through problems that they haven't seen before and identify the tool(s) that they need to solve that problem. In some cases, students may describe a tool that they don't have yet, at which point the teacher would take the opportunity to introduce that tool.

There is a perception among most parents, students, and even teachers that to be "good at math" means to be able to solve problems and get the right answer and do well on tests. Well, let me give you this scenario: let's say I'm teaching a unit on algebra to a group of Grade 8 students. We spend a few weeks looking at patterns and representing patterns and solving equations and graphing lines etc. I give them a quiz and some reviews and tell them when the test will be. Fast-forward 6 months. We've moved on to other things. One day, the students show up to rows and columns of separated seats and a package face down on each desk. It's the same test that I gave them 6 months prior. The difference is that I didn't warn them about it and they had no time to study. What would you anticipate the results on the second test would be? If you believe that kids would do worse on the second test, then was the first test assessing their understanding of the material or was it assessing their ability to temporarily remember things that they recently studied?

This obsession with scores and tests and tutoring and getting answers is so wrong. Imagine if a carpentry school were to have an entire 3 week course on how to use a lathe, and then another 3 week course on how to use a planer, and another on how to use a table saw, then how to use hammers, then how to measure angles, but then never asked the students to actually build anything with those skills. That would be kind of absurd. Similarly, imagine a science class that taught students how to use a microscope and about different cells and the parts of cells but then never let them explore the cells with the microscope and discover some of those differences from themselves. Or a music class that taught how to read notes and how to play scales and how to write music but never played a song. Or a language class that only taught how to spell words and how to read words and how to follow grammar conventions but never provided an opportunity to write a report or to write a narrative or to read a poem or analyze a novel. Math classes, as they've been traditionally taught, do exactly that. They make kids sit down and learn individual skills without any context and with no opportunity to apply them in any meaningful way. You end up with some kids that are "good" students and are compliant and do what you ask and other students that don't care and don't do well. The thing that's missing from both groups is engagement. Students can often be compliant without being engaged, and our math students in this province are rarely being engaged. They accept things for what they are as they're told and never bother to question why because the curiosity is never allowed to come out. Why is x/0 undefined? Why is x^1=0? Why can't we take the square root of a negative number... and is it true that we really can't? How do computers convert to binary and back? How can I construct and predict the behaviour of three-dimensional objects using two-dimensional shapes? I could go on and on but the curiosity and creativity in math are severely lacking, and making a push to basics and putting test results on a pedestal is going in the opposite direction.

Here's a specific anecdote from my class two weeks ago. I was doing an introductory lesson on fractions to my Grade 8 class in which I gave groups of 3-4 a circle which was divided into 4 or 5 sections by straight lines. The task was to find a fractional representation of each piece of the circle. I intended to get students to start thinking about estimating fractions and relating pieces to benchmark fractions and just get their prior knowledge from Grade 7 to the forefront. I did not believe that the students had the tools to come up with a precise fraction representing each piece. Some groups counted the squares on the grid paper and "guessed" at the sizes of the squares cut off by the curve of the circle. In any case, I figured that they didn't have the tools to give precise answers. One student proved me wrong, and he did it using nothing but skills that he learned in Grade 7. The first thing that he did was draw two chords on the circle and find the point of intersection of their perpendicular bisectors. Doing this, he found the midpoint of the circle. He used that midpoint to draw a measure of a radius that he used to calculate the area. He then drew various radii from the midpoint to the points of intersection between the pieces and the circle, used a protractor to find the angle of those slices, represented those slices as a fraction of that angle / 360 and used that to find the area, measured various triangles that were leftover, calculated their area, added it all up and came up with a precise answer. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement, but this is what math is. All of the tools that he used were Grade 7 or 8 tools - chords, perpendicular bisectors, area of a circle, area of a triangle, using a protractor, fractions, degrees in a circle. Most of the kids in that class would do well on a test of finding area or shapes, or on a test of bisecting line segments and angles, or on a test of operations with fractions; however, when it comes to taking those individual tools and putting them together in a way that they haven't seen before to solve a problem that they're unfamiliar with, they give up before they even try. That is a consequence of the attitudes that people have towards math and it's resulting in kids who are terrified of being wrong, who have terrible anxiety around tests because they're often the only chance they have to show what they know, and who won't take risks and challenge themselves because they're used to math being short, simple, black and white problems that are easily recognized and solved.

The Ontario curriculum is often being blamed for declining math scores even though EQAO teacher surveys still show that almost all teachers use direct instruction as their primary method of teaching. The achievement chart that we must use to assess students defines the following categories - Knowledge and Understanding, Application, Thinking, and Communication. Despite that, most people would stop at Knowledge (not even understanding... I feel that those two should be separated) when describing what they think makes a good math person. Here's another example of what I mean. In Grade 7, students learn how to find the volume and surface area of a rectangular prism. In Grade 8, they learn how to find the area of a circle (although most of my students learned this before the start of this year). So, I asked my class a few weeks ago if they knew how to find the volume of a rectangular prism that was 3cm x 4cm x 5cm. Almost all of the hands confidently went up. Then I asked them to tell me the area of a circle with a radius of 5cm. Most hands confidently went up. Then I asked them to tell me the volume of a cylinder with a width of 8cm and a height of 10cm. "We never learned this" was the response I got. And they're right. They were never explicitly taught how to find the volume of a cylinder, but they certainly have all of the tools that they ought to need. A rectangular prism is a right prism, and a right prism can be constructed in theory by starting with a two-dimensional shape and then stacking a number of congruent shapes on top of that to give it height. The volume of the entire prism is equal to the size of the original two-dimensional shape multiplied by how many you have in the stack, i.e. the height. This is a conceptual understanding of right prisms, and if students had this conceptual understanding, they'd be able to figure out that a cylinder works the same way. They simply need to multiply the area of the base by the height. The only difference is that the base is a circle, but most of them knew how to find the area of a circle, so that isn't a problem. The problem is that they've never been explicitly taught how to work with cylinder before, and rather than think about it for a while, they just said: "nope, can't do it."

Here's what I'd like to see happen:

1. Specialized math teachers way before Grade 9. Students in Quebec begin seeing specialized math teachers in Grade 6, and those teachers have specific training in mathematics.
2. A deeper focus on fewer concepts in the early grades. I'd like to see only number sense and patterning in Grades 1 and 2. I'd like to see geometry slowly introduced in Grade 3, followed by measurement and data management through the junior grades. Our students need to have a much deeper understanding of how numbers work and things like place value.
3. An explicit effort to teach problem solving and complex problems in the junior and intermediate grades. And this doesn't mean using some contrived strategy like "CUBES" or "CHASE" to circle key words and underline key numbers in some meaningless word problem. Simply asking a problem using words does not make it problem solving. Problem solving means giving kids a task that can be solved using a variety of different tools that they already have, but that they haven't ever seen before. We need this to develop perseverence and confidence and stamina, as well as an understanding that it's okay not to know what to do at first, it's okay to get something wrong, and there's value in making mistakes.
4. A heavier focus on applicable mathematics throughout the intermediate and senior grades, such as a mandatory personal finance (0.5 credits) & 0.5 statistics and marketing (0.5 credits) course which teaches students about interest, loans, investments, mortgages, buying vs. renting, budgeting, as well as advertising strategies, identifying bias in polling, identifying bias in statistical representations etc.
5. More resources available to teachers to support all of this. Textbooks are easy. They're very easy. You just follow them chapter by chapter, they include homework, they include answers, they include test reviews and quizzes. There's no planning required to use a textbook since it's all done for you. It's obvious why many teachers fall back on the textbook given all of the other planning and assessment that we need to do for all of our other subjects. But a math program that relies heavily on a textbook doesn't have the room for meaningful math learning that students can engage with. The problem is that we've got no alternative. You're either using a textbook, or using something that's very similar to a textbook, or running a math program that's pieced together from various resouces that takes forever to go through and modify and then deliver.

I think that there is a lot that we can do to improve math learning in this province. I also think that those who approach the issue of math in Ontario with the context of trying to "improve math scores" are missing the point. Most students won't go into the applied sciences or maths and by putting the focus on scores we're prioritizing certain pedagogies that lead to higher scores despite not having any data to suggest any positive correlation between those scores and any sort of future success (does a chef need to take Grade 11 functions? what about a mechanic? a pilot? an accountant (well, yes they do to get into university, but do they ever apply those principles?), an electrician? a lawyer? a small business owner?). This comes at an opportunity cost of teaching math in a way that can develop transferable skills such as collaboration, synthesizing ideas, communication, defending one's point of view, overcoming obstacles, accepting and reflecting on failure etc. That's my take on it anyway, for what it's worth.
Even in your link for 2015 assessment, Ontario is below Canada average, no? Or i read it wrong?

Below average is terrible if you ask my opinion
Last edited by smartie on Oct 13th, 2019 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dec 27, 2013
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smartie wrote:
Oct 13th, 2019 4:42 pm
Even in your link for 2015 assessment, Ontario is below Canada average, no? Or i read it wrong?

Below average is terrible if you ask my opinion
On the PISA (international test of 15-year-olds, 2015) we're 4th. Alberta is 3rd. Alberta is below average. On the PCAP (national test of 8th graders, 2016) we're 2nd. We're below average.

Simply stating that "below average is terrible" without looking at the data shows a lack of understanding of basic data management. Quebec is an outlier. Outliers skew the mean. Ontario report cards for students in Grades 7 to 12 use median, not mean, to help students and parents compare their grade to that of their colleagues. The Canadian median on the PISA is 498. Ontario scored 509. The median on the PCAP is 497.5. Ontario scored 508.

Did you read the rest of my post?
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2006
5028 posts
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Markham
OntEdTchr wrote:
On the PISA (international test of 15-year-olds, 2015) we're 4th. Alberta is 3rd. Alberta is below average. On the PCAP (national test of 8th graders, 2016) we're 2nd. We're below average.

Simply stating that "below average is terrible" without looking at the data shows a lack of understanding of basic data management. Quebec is an outlier. Outliers skew the mean. Grade 7-12 provincial report cards show a grade's median instead of its mean, outliers don't affect the median the same way they affect the mean. The Canadian median on the PISA is 498. Ontario scored 509. The median on the PCAP is 497.5. Ontario scored 508.

Did you read the rest of my post?
Yes, you always can remove good ones and say it's outlier

I can also say most Asian immigrants come to either ON and BC, lot of them go to math school or tutor, so unfair to Quebec, so Quebec is at disadvantage

I also suggest those low scores ones are outliners and should be excluded


https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5262440

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