Island students doing better on provincial tests

  • Oct. 8, 2003 3:00 p.m.

Students in primary schools on the islands are doing about as well as their counterparts across the province, as are students at the Queen Charlotte high school, a significant change from last year when students here did much worse than others in the province.n
That’s the good news in the Foundation Skills Assessment data made public last week by the Ministry of Education. The bad news is that students at Masset’s GM Dawson high school are continuing to do much worse than the provincial standard, even though two out of three of Dawson’s results are better than last year.n
The testing takes place in all schools in the province every year; this year, about 150,000 students in grades 4, 7, and 10 took the same tests for skills in the three ‘r’s, reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic (also known as numeracy).n
Complete and detailed results for the islands, school by school, and the province are available on the province’s website, And in Thursday’s Observer, you’ll find a chart which compares results in individual schools on the islands with district and provincial results.n
“It does appear there have been positive gains at the grades 4 and 7 level,” Superintendent of Schools Mike Woods said, but “grade 10 does continue to concern us.” He says the district will be looking carefully at the results in coming weeks, and “we are committed to our literacy and numeracy plans, which we think, over the long term, will have positive results.”n
Mr. Woods noted that test results can be based on so few students that “one or two students can throw it off.”n
And he said the results from GM Dawson are a concern.” We need to start putting the resources into those areas of highest need,” Mr. Woods said, adding the district may need to give extra support to schools such as GM Dawson. “How can we help GMD?” he said is a question the district will be trying to answer.n
The test results data will be shared with parents and teachers, and everyone will put their heads together to see what the next step is, Mr. Woods said, noting that he just received the data last Friday, and as of Monday when the Observer talked to him, he hadn’t had time to go over it in detail. n
A snapshot of what the results show is as follows;n
Grade 4n
Grade 4’s on the islands are mostly doing better than last year’s great 4’s, and mostly better than provincial expectations. 75-percent meet or exceed provincial expectations for reading (province-wide, the figure is 77-percent). As well, 91-percent here meet or exceed the standard for writing (94-percent in the province), and 91-percent here meet or exceed math skills standard (87-percent in the province). n
Grade 7n
For grade sevens, it’s a similar story, with about the same percentage here meeting or exceeding the provincial requirement. 76-percent of islanders tested for reading meet or exceed expectations (77-percent provincially), 73-percent meet or exceed writing standards (79-percent provincially) and 83 percent meet or exceed math skills expectations (84-percent provincially) n
They are also performing slightly better than last year.n
Grade 10n
But for grade tens, it’s a different story, with less than 60-percent meeting or exceeding the three requirements, while across the province, more than 70-percent do. But it’s not so simple. The Queen Charlotte High School scores are better than the provincial average; it’s Masset’s GM Dawson scores that are pulling the average down. n
At Dawson, only 42 percent of grade 10’s meet or exceed the expectation for reading (76-percent at QCSS), 29-percent meet or exceed the standard for writing (95-percent at QCSS) and 42 percent meet or exceed the math skills standard (84-percent at QCSS).n
Looking at the data broken down school by school, we see most students are doing about as well as their off-island counterparts. And some are doing a lot better. Port Clements Elementary, for example, had 100-percent of its grade 4’s meeting or exceeding the provincial standard in all three categories, reading, writing and math skills. At Skidegate’s Sk’aadgaa Naay, grade 4’s were close to the provincial standard in all categories, as were those at Tahayghen, except for reading skills which were lower than the province expects, but considerably higher than last year.n