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January 25, 2006
For immediate release
Government Responds to Task Force on Student Achievement
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The task force was established by Premier Pat Binns in February 2005 to recommend ways to improve student achievement in Prince Edward Island. The task force made 20 recommendations in areas such as curriculum, student assessment and early interventions. The report is based on a review of current research and consultations with over 600 individuals and groups.
Premier Binns advised that government is committed to improving student achievement by investing in initiatives that better prepare students to go on to higher learning, to succeed in the workplace, and to become good citizens. “Specifically, we will provide supports to help more students to read at a grade 3 level by the end of grade 3, and to help all students develop their literacy skills throughout the intermediate and high school years. We will do this by increasing the time students spend learning math and language arts and by providing more opportunities for students to graduate with academic math,” he said. “We will also make it a priority to upgrade general and practical programs, to increase boys’ interest in learning, and to help parents become more engaged in their children’s learning.”
Education Minister Mildred Dover said she is pleased with the task force report. “I believe it identifies the pertinent issues and provides us with key recommendations to improve,” she said. “We are responding by making commitments to provide students with a strong foundation in literacy, to increase time for teaching and learning core subjects such as math and language arts, and to improve curriculum and assessment so that teachers have the tools they need to achieve clear outcomes that are consistent from class to class and school to school.”
Minister Dover will ask Department of Education and school board officials to work together to map out a multi-year implementation plan to respond to the recommendations.
The task force included a diverse group of knowledgeable educators and community members. The report was authored by Dr. Richard Kurial, chair, Zain Esseghaïer, 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.
The task force report is now available on the government website or by visiting www.upei.ca/studentachievement.
Government’s Response to the Task Force On Student Achievement
January 25, 2006
Department of Education and school board officials will develop a multi-year implementation plan to address the recommendations of the task force. They will begin by considering the following areas.
Curriculum and Assessment:
1. Provide a detailed plan to develop curriculum guides for all core subjects. These guides will include clear standards, outcomes, benchmarks and methods of assessment.
2. Work with teachers on a plan to develop and administer common assessments to students in grades 3, 6, and 9 and in designated high school subjects.
3. Identify the resources required to ensure that children have the supports they need to read at a grade 3 level by the end of grade 3.
4. Recommend a strategy to enrich school library resources and to increase library use, especially at the elementary level.
General and Practical Programs:
5. Propose ways to upgrade general and practical programs to ensure these students are learning to their full potential.
6. Identify opportunities for students to achieve the literacy and numeracy proficiencies required by technical and trades programs.
7. Identify opportunities for more high school students to complete academic math through programs like double time math.
8. Propose a strategy to increase access to high school programs and courses that help students identify meaningful career options and pathways to pursue them.
9. Propose ways to improve the way teaching times and course values are allocated to courses in high school, and increase math and language arts time.
10. Examine block scheduling at the intermediate level and recommend ways to improve teacher-student contact in grades 7 to 12.
11. Identify differentiated learning strategies for grade 7 to 9 boys to increase their interest in learning.
12. Propose academic enrichment programs.
13. Engage the PEI Home and School Federation to work with school councils and la Fédération des parents to recommend a provincial strategy to further engage parents in their children’s learning.
School Improvement Planning:
14. Continue to develop a consistent province-wide school improvement planning process that engages teachers, students and parents in school-based initiatives to improve teaching and learning, the school environment and parent involvement.
15. Develop clear guidelines for all schools to maximize the use of existing instructional time.
16. Support the new Learning Disabilities Specialist in the development of a strategy to ensure that students with learning difficulties have access to appropriate assessment and interventions.
17. Identify areas where specialized teacher training is essential and work with school boards to ensure that teachers with these skills are assigned to these areas.
18. Develop strategies to increase training of new teachers in areas where PEI has needs.
The Department of Education will be asked to report to the Minister twice a year so government can honour the task force request to monitor and report on its progress to implement the recommendations.