Published Online: June 21, 2005
Published in Print: June 22, 2005, as Math to Become Less Abstract for Some Ontario 9th Graders

International Update

Math to Become Less Abstract for Some Ontario 9th Graders

Worried that overly challenging material is encouraging students to quit school, officials with Ontario’s Ministry of Education have revised the math curriculum for students on one of the province’s academic tracks.

The bulk of the changes, which are to take effect this fall, have the overall goal of presenting mathematics that is less abstract and more connected to the real world, and of moving some more-challenging topics to higher grade levels.

Beginning in 9th grade, students follow one of two tracks: “advanced,” a more academically challenging route generally focused on college preparation; and “applied,” more focused on readiness for work, said Wilma Davis, a spokeswoman for the ministry.

The province implemented a more demanding curriculum in the 1999-2000 academic year. Dropout rates have since climbed, and Ontario Minister of Education Gerard Kennedy, after consulting with experts, decided to revise the curriculum. The changes include moving analytical geometry from 9th to 10th grade for students in the applied category. Other topics shifted to higher grades include negative exponents and zero exponents, scientific notation, 3-D optimization, and the surface area of prisms and pyramids.

Those revisions will help ensure a “very relevant, tangible level of learning” for applied students, Ms. Davis said.

The curriculum will apply to the province’s public and Roman Catholic schools, which also receive public funding, as well as private schools that choose to follow the policy, she said.

Vol. 24, Issue 41, Page 14

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