Report Shows Manitoba among Worst in Math Skills

According to a recently conducted international survey, math scores of Manitoba teens have been diving since 2003 and the continued decline has now led the province near the bottom of Canadian provinces. The assessment is conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which included 65 countries and economies, every three years. A report released on Tuesday included findings of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, from 2012.

According to the report, Quebec students were among the best in Canada whereas students in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia performed at the Canadian average. However, it was highlighted that the number of students failing to prove even the most basic skills has doubled in Manitoba in the past nine years. According to a University of Winnipeg math professor and advocate of back-to-basics teaching, Anna Stokke, this is a result of the province’s adoption of radical curriculum that teaches students multiple strategies for simple math, which she claims is confusing for parents and students alike. Stokke alleged that “something that should be really simple ends up being really complicated and I think it’s a huge mistake because math doesn’t have to be that difficult. But it does have to be taught properly.”

Education Minister, James Allum, recently mentioned in a statement that he considers the OECD report and its results to be alarming and hopes that he can change the trend around. He stated that “we take that very very seriously. I find it quite unacceptable and so we want to go out and start making a difference.”

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