SUDBURY – Without having had the opportunity to look at the details of the new math curriculum for elementary students, introduced by the Ontario Ministry of Education recently, the director of education for the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) says it looks good at first glance.
“I’ve only seen a summary the province released, but at first blush it looks good,” stated Norm Blaseg. “However, I will need to look at it further and in detail to give better input on our thoughts on the new curriculum.”
Mr. Blaseg said one thing the new math curriculum for elementary school students does is, “cancel the EQAO (Education Quality Accountability Office) testing for Grades 3 and 6 for next year.”
The Ontario government released the province’s new elementary math curriculum to better prepare students for work in a rapidly changing world, strengthen math competency and improve grades. The curriculum was developed over two years in consultation with parents, math educators, academics and math education experts, and is designed to reverse a decade of declining math scores. It will be available to students across the province beginning in September.
Details were released by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, deputy premier and Minister of Health, and Stephen Lecce, minister of Education on June 23.
“I made a promise to parents that we would fix the broken education system we inherited, get back to basics and teach our children the math fundamentals they need for lifelong success,” said Premier Ford. “Today, out government is delivering on that promise with the first-ever math curriculum in Canada for Grades 1-8 that includes the teaching of coding and financial literacy, both critical skills that will help our students prepare for and succeed in the modern world and in the modern workforce.”
The new curriculum for Grades 1-8 will: build understanding of the value and use of money through mandatory financial literacy concepts; for the first time, teach coding or computer programming skills starting in Grade 1 to improve problem solving and fluency with technology, to prepare students for jobs of the future; use relevant, current and practical examples so students can connect math to everyday life; and put a focus on fundamental math concepts and skills, such as learning and recalling number facts.
“For over a decade, too many students were lacking everyday math, financial literacy and numeracy skills,” said Minister Lecce. “The new curriculum will help students solve everyday math problems, enshrine financial literacy in the early grades and better prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow by ensuring every student learns how to code.”
The ministry is also changing how it makes curriculum available to better reflect how Ontarians consume information. The new math curriculum will be the first uploaded to the new curriculum and resources website, a digital space where anyone can access curriculum and learning resources. This platform will help parents, students and teachers see connections between learning in different grades and subjects.
The new elementary math curriculum is part of the government’s four-year math strategy to ensure that students can build the confidence and skills they need to excel in math; the elementary report card will be updated to align with the new curriculum and provide an overall mark in math, along with comments on the different strands of the curriculum to give parents a better overall assessment of how their child is doing.