Poor math scores don't add up, Opposition Leader says

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Interim Opposition Leader Steven Myers listens to the speech from the throne

P.E.I.'s poor scores in international math testing were the focus of scrutiny today in the P.E.I. legislature.

Opposition Leader Steven Myers raised concern about the fact Island students scored last in the country in math, as well as in reading and science on the 2013 PISA results.

He pointed to a presentation made recently at UPEI called the ‘State of Mathematics in P.E.I.’ by UPEI professor Dr. Tess Miller.

She called the poor math outcomes among P.E.I. students a crisis.

“She calls this a red light for Prince Edward Island,” Myers said.

“Will you admit this is a crisis?”

Education Minister Alan McIsaac admits he was not pleased with the PISA scores, but noted the Grade 9 students who took the 2013 PISA tests came into the school system before his Liberal government took office.

Targeted investments have since been made into the early years system, to ensure those children entering Kindergarten and Grade 1 are better prepared with pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills.

“We couldn’t just throw the money out, hope it lands willy-nilly. It had to be put in a proper area, make our investments where they needed to be made to improve our educational system across the province,” McIsaac said.

But Myers said poor math outcomes among students will eventually lead to poor economic outcomes for Prince Edward Island.

“Dr. Miller notes that if we don’t change the way we educate our students in mathematics, the crisis will extend into the P.E.I. economy,” Myers said.

“Being last in math in this entire country is going hurt our economy here in the future. It’s sad that you don’t see that.”

McIsaac noted UPEI has changed its Bachelor of Education degree to include a specialization in math education.

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Mathematics

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  • Nick
    May 14, 2014 - 19:04

    Well, when you have schools hiring humanities grads just because they used to be the athletes of the school back in their glory years so they can coach, and turn around and say "Oh, teach math/physics/chemistry" while you're at it, you get what you get. Also, the bar is set too low for younger students. Young students can do MUCH higher levels of math if pushed, and even if it's just going through motions without knowing the big picture, that's still helpful. Better than just a foggy idea of what it might all be used for, and not being able to actually do it when in high school/university.