Flunking math in Nova Scotia - Macleans.ca

Flunking math in Nova Scotia

More than half of Grade 12 students fail exam


Nova Scotia’s provincial math test for Grade 12 students is proving more than most of them can handle: only 45 per cent passed last year, down from 51 per cent in 2008. It’s just as bad in the province’s French-language schools, where, again, 45 per cent of students passed mathematiques. Are the kids to blame? The teachers? The provincial education department blames, at least in part, the curriculum—saying too many math concepts are presented in Grade 12 for the classroom time available. A new curriculum will be rolled out starting next year.

Chronicle Herald

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Flunking math in Nova Scotia

  1. Any parent with a kid in school should give up on whatever passes for math education there and purchase Singapore Math textbooks. (Get the Teacher's Guide as well as the Text and the Workbooks). One year's worth of work is about $50, obviously a fraction of what you would pay for a tutor. Buy them from a Canadian homeschool vendor and you won't have to deal with shipping, etc., although there is an American source at Singaporemath.com that answers questions very responsively and informatively.

    • I had a hard time with math in high school in the 60's in Mtl. I attribute it partly to my math teacher in grade 8. I didn't understand something so he came to my desk to explain it to me. I couldn't concentrate as he had such bad BO, just said yeah, to get rid of him. Should have known better as he wore 2 suits and 2 shirts the whole school year. I never again asked him a question. Would have asked my Dad, but he was working in another province. If one doesn't get the basics, forget the rest.

    • Before you make that purchase you might want to just double-check to see what is bieng used in your child's classroom – the Singapore Math program is used in some schools, although I'm not sure how widespread.

  2. The provincial education department blames, at least in part, the curriculum—saying too many math concepts are presented in Grade 12 for the classroom time available.

    Isn't the provincial education department RESPONSIBLE for the curriculum? Did nobody care to look into things when the pass rate was 51% a year earlier? Or was it not a crisis when it was "over 50%" one year and now it's a crisis "under 50%" this year?

    And it takes a whole friggin' YEAR to crunch these numbers? 2009 results are only making it out in a report now? Jeez, the 6/49 wizards break down the numbers of winning tickets for every combo overnight

  3. While the education department is accountable to no one and provides comfortable sinecures for people who don't want to work, parents are mostly responsible for their kids education – if parents expect very little of their kids, their kids will deliver very little. Dumbing down the curriculum year after year hasn't improved outcomes, kids need challenges, not patronizing – they figure that out pretty quickly.

  4. In my experience I have yet to meet educators and administration who are more dedicated and more knowledgable than those in Nova Scotia. Year after year Nova Scotia school teachers and consultants take on new learning and explore new currciulum standards from within Canada and around the world.

    It should be recognized that standardized provincial testing scores are just that. They are one thin slice of a big pizza. They represent a taste of the bigger picture – but only a taste. It should be known that Nova Scotia learners are amongst the best in Canada. Test results will always vary as curricula change. The rest of the provinces are all simplifying their math and science curricula realizing that the students are overloaded at certain grades and/or in certain courses. In the end, this is not dummying down courses. This is getting real and it is an honest attempt to make sure that students achieve success in grasping and maintaining the bigger ideas.

    I congratulate the Nova Scotia teachers and adminstrators for their ongoing positive thinking about staying abreast of what is happening in mathematics globally.

  5. Hmmm. I hope it won’t be as difficult as this when I get my year 12 courses. I want to finish the course!