Ontario’s declining scores on the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) math assessment have led to growing concern among parents. While many schools provide daily math classes, most classrooms cannot provide individual attention to students who are struggling. On the other hand, many gifted students feel out of place and find math classes boring when they already know the content taught in class. In the most recent 2018-2019 EQAO questionnaire, the math performance significantly dropped from Grade 3 to 6, and a proportion of students ended up taking Applied Math in Grade 9 as the doors of Academic Math are closed for them due to weak foundation in math. Empirical evidence shows that the right math tutoring program, on the other hand, offers flexibility, mentorship, social emotional learning and confidence that ultimately bring them to math success. According to CBC News, the rise in enrolment at math tutoring programs relates to the decline in math scores on standardized tests among elementary students in Ontario. In fact, 35% of Ontario families paid for tutoring to supplement their children’s education in 2018. This was up 10% since 2002, as OISE reports. The global private tutoring industry is projected to reach CAD $227 billion by 2022, with an estimate at more than $1 billion in Canada. Unfortunately, this coincides with the sharp decline in overall public school attendance. Private tutoring is the “new normal” for Canadian families especially during COVID.
Government’s Effort in Improving Math Performance
With the consistent decline in math scores for many years now, Ontario’s government has launched a new Ontario Math Curriculum in 2020 for the first time since 2005. The new curriculum includes a new initiative, or a four-year math strategy, which focuses on fundamental math concepts such as number facts and fractions, and their applications. The initiatives also emphasize on building life skills beyond math concepts, integrating social emotional learning, coding, data management and financial literacy. The goals of the strategy is to prepare students in the classroom and in their future, to ensure teachers are confident and capable in teaching math, and to support parents and families along their kids’ educational journey.
In addition to funding for school boards, the government had invested more than $6 million for summer initiatives throughout the province in 2019. In Peel Region, local school boards offered a three-week, math-focused Summer Learning Program for students in K-5. This was aimed to help students who required additional support minimize summer learning loss, build confidence, increase skills, and have greater success during the regular school year.
Although the government has launched new policies and methods to improve math scores in Ontario, parents are increasingly reporting unengaged children in online classes during the pandemic and dissatisfactory math performance. The demand for math tutoring services continues to rise with schools closed and academic schedules disrupted during COVID-19.
The Effects of Disrupted Schooling on Learning Loss
According to the 2021 report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 800 million students (representing more than half the world’s student population) continue to experience major disruptions in their schooling after a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian students are struggling from switches between remote and in-person learning to juggling class quarantines. The learning gaps that students in Ontario have experienced in the past 10 years are getting worse.
While some teachers are doing their very best at carrying out lessons under COVID-19 lockdown, parents are wondering how much curriculum is being covered in classes. Teachers’ time is taken up troubleshooting technical problems and repeatedly walking students through online tools. Opportunities for one-to-one assistance have also dropped. Under pre-pandemic learning environments, some students were already experiencing difficulties absorbing and understanding information. They may be distracted by their classmates, or thinking about what they are going to do after school. The distractions did not stop when students are now doing online schooling. Students can shy away from asking for help online because they are self-conscious about classmates hearing them struggle or they fear being judged or bullied. Moreover, education advocates and experts also highlighted that pandemic-disrupted schooling on learning loss will persist even after COVID-19.
While the duration of COVID-19 is still uncertain, solid, specialized math programs can provide students with environments to minimize distractions, grab students’ attention during the allocated time, identify any learning gaps in math, and develop independent learning skills.
Math Project was nationally recognized in 2020 for being the top 10 organizations that showed resilience during COVID-19 and pivoted 100% of its students successfully to an online learning platform, without taking a single day off. Math Project helps the students stay ahead of the school math curriculum and study in a self-motivated manner. An average Math Project child gets 2-3 years ahead of his or her peers within 6 months of being in the program.
Do you think your kids need help to improve math? Math Project offers math programs in Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, and even online. The live, video sessions with Math Project’s team of qualified math tutors are always here to help your child achieve excellence in mathematics. Contact us today at 1-844-628-4243book a free assessment. For more information on Math Project’s specialized curriculum, visit our website at https://mathproject.ca/.
Highlights of the Provincial Results – EQAO.com
Math tutoring services gain popularity as Ontario public schools struggle with scores – cbc.ca
Government Launches Effort to Strengthen Math Skills & Improve Job Prospects – news.ontario.ca
Differences between Math Tutors and Math Teachers Pt 2 – studypug.com
Why are elementary school math scores declining in Ontario? – competeprosper.ca
New math curriculum for Grades 1-8 – ontario.ca
Math Supports for Peel Region Students and Parents – cuzzetto.com
Disrupted schooling, learning loss will have effects long after pandemic, say education experts – cbc.ca
Will private tutoring reconfigure learning? – convivium.ca