"Ontario is banking on better teacher training to improve its math results, even as the Manitoba government is going back to basics this fall to battle poor test scores.
Students across the country are struggling with numeracy. Results this week from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment – a sweeping measure of scholastic abilities in 65 countries – showed that increasing percentages of 15-year-olds are failing the math test in nearly all provinces.
The numbers have got Ontario worried, and Education Minister Liz Sandals is vowing to tackle the problem."
"The OECD results suggest that jurisdictions that teach math in a more traditional way had more success than those such as Ontario that use “discovery learning,” a method that allows for open-ended student investigations and problem-solving.
Critics of this method say it ignores the basics, such as having students memorize multiplication tables. In Ontario, for instance, students are required to be able to multiply by 9 in grade 4, but there is no requirement they do so through rote memorization.
This fall, Manitoba returned to some traditional teaching methods in its kindergarten to Grade 8 curriculum, in hopes of giving students better foundational math skills.
The changes in Manitoba mean that students are now taught all four standard methods for arithmetic – addition with a carry, subtraction with a borrow, long multiplication and long division. The curriculum stresses that students do math in their heads and not rely on calculators."