January exams yield mixed results for CESD students

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 12:35 pm | Paul Frey

Chinook’s Edge School Division students saw mixed results for the diploma exams in January, according to division statistics provided to the board at last week’s regular meeting.

A total of 81.3 per cent of students who wrote the Biology 30 exam, for example, reached the acceptable standard of 50 per cent or better in January, the same percentage of students that reached that level in 2010-11.

In Chemistry 30 and Social 30-2, meanwhile, students in January scored lower than their counterparts in the last two years. In Chemistry 30, 74 per cent of students scored acceptable in January, while 74.1 per cent scored acceptable last year and 82.6 per cent of students scored acceptable in 2009-10. In Social 30-2, 82 per cent of students scored acceptable in January while that level was achieved by 89.4 per cent of CESD students that wrote the exam in 2010-11 and 89.5 per cent of exam writers the previous year.

Lissa Steele, the division’s associate superintendent of learning services, said teachers in those subjects are working together to improve those results.

The most positive results came from students writing the Physics 30 exam. The percentage of students achieving the acceptable standard increased by 22.4 per cent over last year to 87.6 per cent of students writing the exam in January.

“I really think (the improvement) is because of the teachers and they’ve been working together for about a year-and-a-half now, really (working to improve results). The teachers themselves had a concern (about declining results), and formed a group and formed a plan on how do we support students,” she said.

In Pure Math 30, both acceptable and excellent results are up over last year. In January, 83.6 per cent of students who wrote the Pure Math 30 test achieved acceptable status, while 79.9 per cent of 2010-11 students achieved that range. Meanwhile 22.4 per cent of students achieved excellent status (80 per cent or better on the exam) in Pure Math 30 in January while 21.1 per cent of students achieved excellence in 2010-11.

In all but one of the nine diploma exam subjects (English 30-1), CESD students scored better than the provincial average in the acceptable category. A larger percentage of CESD students achieved excellent status vis-à-vis their provincial counterparts in Biology 30 and Physics 30, while the provincial average of those achieving exellence outpaced CESD students in the other seven diploma exams.

In her presentation to the board, Steele said all improvement efforts teachers make are data-driven, looking at the test scores and then seeing areas for improvement in teaching. All of the data will be analyzed over the next six weeks to come up with strategies for improvement.

“All of that data that they collect every day informs what they do next,” she said.

Superintendent Kurt Sacher told the board that while the results pose some work for staff in terms of how to improve results, he is optimistic that those efforts will pay off.

“There’s a lot of questions that have been unanswered, but there’s reason for optimism,” he said.

Once all Grade 12 students have written their exams in June, more concrete data about the implications of the results will be analyzed. The January results are rolled into the division’s accountability report that is made public at the end of the school year.


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