Retired Classroom Teacher, currently tutors students
A Comparative Analysis of Canadian Mathematics Curricula At the Elementary Level: Then & Now
Over the past 15 years, unprecedented changes have been made to math curricula across Canada. 21st century learning has led to a student-centred, inquiry-based approach in the classroom, and this has also changed the content of accompanying textbooks and resources. In response, parents and many teachers have experienced tremendous frustration as student performance has declined significantly. Many have observed that elementary school-aged children are no longer learning foundational skills adequately and results indicate a significant decline in academic achievement There have also been reports of a 30% increase in math tutoring at the elementary level…something that was uncommon prior to 2000.
We will examine five key topics: mastery of multiplication facts, long division, skill with fractions and decimals, speed of mental calculation and accuracy of calculation – all crucial in establishing foundational knowledge for high school mathematics and life skills. By examining the terminology and implications of curricula, we will illustrate where there has been a decline in standards and add recommendations for improvement. We will also provide data from provincial and international tests to pinpoint these areas of concern. Other points of discussion: 1/ solutions that could reverse this downward trend in scores; 2/ease the transition into high school for for young people; 3/the current dependence on outside tutoring to supplement math instruction in schools.
Tara Houle is a mother of two daughters and graduate of the University of Western Ontario. She is a frequent writer/contributor to provincial newspapers and radio on the topic of math education in the K-12 system. Tara is also the founder of WISE Math B.C. – a provincewide initiative advocating for evidenced-based math instruction in the classroom. She lives with her family in North Saanich, B.C.
Teresa Murray lives in Hamilton, Ontario and is the mother of 2 daughters. She was a classroom teacher for 32 years and presently tutors. Teresa has taught a wide variety of grades and has always been interested in issues of curriculum. She has written and spoken about the current state of elementary math education in Ontario in the past 5 years since retirement.