McGuinty Government Helps Close Gender Gap In Reading And Writing
Results from national and international testing of elementary and secondary students has shown that boys are not doing as well as girls when it comes to reading and writing. This has become a major concern for educators around the world. In fact, compared to girls, boys are more likely to be placed in special education programs, have a higher high school dropout rate and are less likely to go to university.
Provincewide testing of students in Grades 3 and 6 shows a significant gap in the reading and writing achievement levels of boys and girls:
Education Quality and Accountability Office Literacy Test Scores
Percentage of students meeting or exceeding the provincial standard in reading
Percentage of students meeting or exceeding the provincial standard in writing
The results of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test also show that boys do not perform as well as girls when it comes to reading and writing. In 2003-04, 73 per cent of English-language and 72 per cent of French-language boys who took the test for the first time, passed. In comparison, 80 per cent and 83 per cent of their female counterparts, respectively, passed.
Boys' Literacy Action Plan
This month, the government released a resource guide for teachers to help improve boys' literacy skills. The guide, titled Me Read? No Way! A Practical Guide to Improving Boys' Literacy Skills, is based on national and international research and provides teachers with practical and effective strategies for improving boys' literacy skills.
The Ministry of Education has established a working group of educators to offer advice on how to improve the literacy success of boys.
In addition, the Ministry of Education is providing a forum for Ontario educators to showcase best practices and initiate a provincewide discussion about next steps for improving boys' reading and writing skills.
Education Foundations Program
Excellence in public education depends on students being able to read, write, do math and comprehend at a high level by the age of 12. Children who succeed have a much greater chance of finishing high school and going on to college, university, or an apprenticeship or job placement program. Having a solid education foundation will allow students the fullest range of choices in their academic career and beyond.
By 2008, the McGuinty government's goal is to improve reading, writing and math performance of our 12-year-olds to the point where 75 per cent reach the provincial standard, rather than just over half.
To date, the government has supported the Education Foundations program with $160 million in new resources, including:
- Intensive teacher development -- 16,000 lead teachers for literacy and numeracy
- Smaller class sizes -- 1,100 new primary teachers in 1,300 schools
- Focused curriculum -- daily emphasis on literacy and numeracy.