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July 13, 2005
For immediate release
Consultations on Student Achievement Near Completion
The consultations will conclude this month with final presentations to be held July 25 and written submissions accepted until July 31. “The task force will then consider the abundance of materials submitted and make specific recommendations to the Minister of Education,” said Dr. Richard Kurial, task force chair.
Dr. Kurial praised the quality of submissions that Islanders provided to the task force. “They are primarily concerned about four areas: assessment, engagement, resources and curriculum,” he said. “They feel strongly that student achievement is a shared responsibility that can be improved by further engaging parents and communities in their children’s learning, and by setting higher expectations for children.”
Task force members were advised that specialized teachers and resources have a positive impact on student achievement and schools should have timely access to these resources. Consultation participants expressed the need for more textbooks and library resources. They also proposed that resources be provided to address socioeconomic factors so that students have more equitable opportunities to achieve.
Suggestions were made to increase accountability for the provincially mandated curriculum while allowing teachers the freedom to address a variety of learning needs; to increase time on task and improve the use of instructional time; and to present all post-secondary options to all students regardless of whether they live in a rural or urban area.
The task force was struck by Premier Binns in February 2005. Its mandate is to examine educational research, consult with the public and recommend ways to improve student achievement in Prince Edward Island.
The consultation process included five public consultations which were attended by more than 300 people. Approximately 25 individuals and groups made presentations directly to the task force. More than 35 written submissions were received. Focus groups were held with high school students. The task force participated in facilitated discussions with an abundance of groups, including the West Kent Home and School Association, the UPEI Faculty of Education and Department of Education employees. The task force also plans to hear from several educational experts over the summer months.
The task force provided Education Minister Mildred Dover with an interim
report on its activities on June 30. It will submit its final report before October 31, 2005.
Task force members include Dr. Richard Kurial, chair, Zain Esseghaer, Maurice Poirier, Dr. Alex (Sandy) MacDonald, Ken Gunn, Gary Doucette, B.J. Willis, Rob MacDonald, Beth Cullen, Kim Horrelt, Steve Loggie, Justin MacLeod and George Morrison; ex-officio: Shauna Sullivan Curley, Linda Lowther.
For more information, visit the Task Force on Student Achievement website at www.upei.ca/studentachievement or Dr. Richard Kurial, Dean of Arts, University of Prince Edward Island, (902) 566-0310, email@example.com.