Posts tagged ‘Academic Achievement’

Problems of student chronic absenteeism

The US Department of Education has released an interactive website showing an alarming and increasing trend in (US) student  absenteeism.

Source: From the website,

Why Chronic Absenteeism Matters: What the Research Says

Research suggests the reasons for chronic absenteeism are as varied as the challenges our students and families face—including poor health, limited transportation, and a lack of safety—which can be particularly acute in disadvantaged communities and areas of poverty.

Whatever its causes, chronic absenteeism can be devastating:

Check it out!


June 22, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

In math, writing calculations improves success

OMG! This was such an argument on the domestic homework front! Our kids would not write out the step by step process involved in solving a math problem – no wonder they would often get the answers wrong – usually because of a dumb mistake with multiplication or something.  And because they did not show their work it took forever to discover where the problems lay. Tears! Gnashing of teeth!

Psychologist Marije Fagginger Auer, a specialist in Methodology and Statistics, in her thesis, shows that where lower ability grade 6 math students marks improved when they wrote out the full math calculation.

From the Universiteil Leider news release :

“Developments in maths teaching have resulted in greater emphasis on informal strategies, such as mental arithmetic. However, some students with lower mathematical ability may not be able to choose wisely between strategies. These students often opt for a risky approach to answering, without writing down their calculations. Boys are more likely to do this than girls. It appears that teachers have only limited influence on this choice, but there is something that can be done about it. If lower ability students have to write down their calculations, their performance is better. After training, these students are more likely to choose written calculations.”

In the ancient past, we always got marks for showing our work even the final number was not right – it saved  me on a number of occasions.







June 21, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Unicef report shows Canada’s disadvantaged children’s well-being needs improving

UNICEF Report Card 13: Fairness for Children, released in 2016, measures the depths of inequality in children’s well-being across the richest countries.

The UNICEF Index of Child Inequality reveals how far rich countries allow their most disadvantaged children to fall behind the ‘average’ child in aspects of health, education, income, and life satisfaction. 

From the April 14 press release:  Fairness for Children Key Findings:

  •  Overall, Canada ranks 26 th out of 35 rich nations, putting it at the back of the pack.
  • Most areas of child well-being showed no improvement in Canada over the last decade.
  • The widest gaps between those at the middle and those at the bottom were in the levels of income inequality and unhealthy eating.
  • Of the 41 most affluent countries, Canada ranks 24th in the level of income inequality. The poorest children in Canada have family incomes 53 per cent lower than the average child.
  • Inequality in health symptoms increased for Canada’s children and in most rich countries. Canada ranks 24 of 35 countries for health inequality. However, inequality in physical activity and in healthy eating of fruits and vegetables in Canada remained stable and the gaps are smaller than in many countries.
  • In Canada, nine per cent of children reported very low life satisfaction, more than the average among rich countries.
  • One quarter of Canada’s kids report daily symptoms of poor health – can’t sleep, feeling sick or anxious. This is usually linked to difficulties with peers, at school or at home. Feeling that way on a daily basis interferes with learning, with relationships, with long-term health and risk behaviours like bullying and drug use.
  • Canada ranks 14th out of 37 countries in the level of education inequality.
  • Canada ranks 25th out of 35 countries in the level of life satisfaction inequality.

See also: Canadian Companion  and Canadian Infographic See what steps UNICEF offers to improve the situation.

Check it out!


April 18, 2016 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Capacity Building: OFIP

LearnTeachLead  has shared links to 4 new Ministry documents (2016) – 3 from the What Works? Research into Practice series and 1 from the Capacity Building Series.

Every student/Every School: Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership for Elementary Schools. (2016, Feb.). Capacity Building K-12, #44.

From page 1: “In this monograph, we introduce you to the big ideas behind the Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership (OFIP) and share with you the lessons learned about school improvement by some of Ontario’s most challenged schools.”

From page 2:

  1. “While EQAO achievement is the sole criterion used to identify low-performing schools in Ontario, like low-performing schools world-wide they tend to have a significantly higher proportion of students living in challenging circumstances. “
  2. “OFIP has evolved from a more centrally directed initiative with expectations for target-setting, diagnostic assessments, improvement planning and implementation to one that is more locally developed and defined.”
  3. “At its simplest, OFIP assists school and board leaders, classroom educators and other key members of the school community, including parents and caregivers, in planning, implementing, monitoring and refining a school improvement plan.”

Pages 4-6 examines 5 common OFIP themes:

  1. Building leadership for learning;
  2. Holding the belief that all students can learn and acquiring a deep understanding of student learning needs;
  3. Building inclusive, collaborative relationships and committing to a collective goal;
  4. Focusing on effective literacy and mathematics programs, including the teaching of higher order thinking and problem solving skills;
  5. Connecting professional learning needs to student learning needs at the classroom level.

Page 8 includes a graphic Lessons for All Schools with 7 sections (not the similarity to the themes above:

  • ensure equity as the foundation for excellence
  • connect professional learning  needs to sturende learning needs
  • monitor impact
  • focus on effective literacy and mathematics programs
  • build relationships and work towards a collective goal
  • understand student learning needs
  • build leadership for learning

Check this out. Note that I was unable to find a current webpage devoted to OFIP.


March 18, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Report: The higher your education, the more recession proof you are

Today’s Toronto Star includes an article by Alex Ballengall titled Education, age important in post-recession Toronto.

The news report report is based on a report released by the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group (TWIG) and is titled 95 Months Later: Turbulent times in Toronto’s labour force.  I have selected some some highlights from an education perspective:

From page 3: “This is a city of contrasts and extremes. The City of Toronto’s population is projected to rise from 2.77 million in 2013 to 3.64 million in 2041. The growth of other regional municipalities will add an additional 2.1 million people to the GTA. Yet our collective ability to attract and keep newcomers, youth, and families is shrinking due to dramatically rising property values, growing income disparity and the lack of affordable housing.”

From page 8-9:   The better educated, the lower the unemployment rate. This result is consistent over the 2007 – 2014 time intervals and is statistically significant. These figures strongly suggest that regardless of the economic conditions, there is smaller demand for less educated. …

As the data clearly illustrates, it is better to be a well-educated worker in a recession than a less educated worker in period of robust economic growth.  It could be argued for workers with education levels of high school or less, the economy is always in a recession, providing fewer and fewer positions.

From page 16: Those working-age Torontonians, male and female, with less than a high school education have very few opportunities to find decent work.

Check this out!


November 3, 2015 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

EQAO releases Gr. 9 2014-2015 math scores and OSSLT (Gr 10 literacy) results

EQAO has released the results of the Grade 9 Math and Grade 10 literacy (OSSLT) provincial testing for 2014-2015. All of the links below (EQAO and TDSB) take you to pages where there are additional documents, videos, links and information.

EQAO Math results : Note that  for 2014-2015 Results: Provincial results for EQAO’s 2014–2015 Grade 9 math assessment for the English-language school system are not available. Due to labour disruptions, not all schools in that system participated.

TDSB has published its math results in this News Release,  based information released by the TDSB Research Centre.

Academic Mathematics Results:  Over the past five years (2010-11 to 2014-15), the percentage of Grade 9 students who performed at or above the provincial standard (Levels 3 and 4) increased 1% in Academic Mathematics (81% to 82%).

Applied Mathematics Results : Over the past five years (2010-11 to 2014-15), the percentage of Grade 9 students who performed at or above the provincial standard increased 4% in Applied Mathematics (30% to 34%).

See the EQAO OSSLT results: From the pdf: 

This group of students represents all the students in Ontario who wrote the OSSLT for the first time in 2015.

  • 82% were successful.
  • 18% were not.

One of the things we know about the Grade 10 students who are unsuccessful on the OSSLT is that the majority also had not met the literacy standard when they were in Grade 6.

This means that for most of these students, their EQAO results four years earlier were a red flag that they were struggling with their literacy skills.

While it’s encouraging that the percentage of students meeting the reading standard in Grade 6 has been steadily increasing for many years, new strategies are needed to support students who do not meet the standard so they can turn their literacy struggles around by Grade 10.

Check it out!


October 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

Parents and the power of positive talk/rich conversation with children

Check out this article by Holly Korby (Mindshift/How we Learn, October 2015), titled What Parents can Gain from Learning the Science of Talking to Kids which is based on the book /research Thirty Million Words by Dana Suskind, see also the organization.

Korby’s article discusses the research and findings of Thirty Million Words, in particular the correlation between children’s language skills and school preparedness. Studies show that children living in poverty had fewer words in their vocabulary than their richer counterparts. “The truth is, much of what you see in children born into poverty is analogous to children born deaf,” Suskind said. “It’s a really important point. The most fundamental science shows that it’s really language, and all that comes with it, the brain-building aspect of things, that makes a difference.”

In addition to the book, Suskind is developing a home curriculum to share with parents. It is based on 3 Ts:

  1. Tune In (engage, play, invest the time )
  2. Talk More (rich vocabulary)
  3. Take Turns (child is a conversational partner)

A fourth T would be Turn off the Technology. Note that the Professional Library has a new book titles Tap, Click, Read; Growing Readers in a world of Screen

And for educators/librarians;

“She encourages educators to tell parents about the science of talking to children, and to explain that any opportunity, even the most mundane, is an opportunity to practice the Three Ts. Especially reading a book together.

“It’s really about having a conversation over the book,” she said. “You don’t have to read every word if the child doesn’t want to. It’s really about having a conversation, tuning in to what your baby is interested in, talking about the pictures.”

Check it out!

Rowan … with thanks from our fabulous reference librarian Lauren who is now a fabulous new mom to a baby boy!

October 22, 2015 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,173 other followers

Follow the Library on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 153,795 hits
October 2018
« Sep    

TDSB Professional Library

(416) 395-8289
Monday to Friday 8:30 to 5: 00


%d bloggers like this: