News from the Canada Region
Carol Matsumoto, Canada Regional Director
The fall has been a busy time for NCSM and the provinces. Since the last report I have had two conference calls with the NCSM Provincial Leaders and attended several meetings and/or conferences.
At the beginning of October I had two conference calls with the NCSM Provincial leaders and we discussed things that were happening in Canada and how NCSM could support Canadians and vice versa. Valerie Mills, the NCSM president, was able to participate in one of our conference calls.
In October I attended the MCATA Conference in Edmonton and had the privilege to make new connections as well as renew connections with others whom I hadn't seen in quite a while.I was able to speak briefly about NCSM and to present an NCSM gift certificate to a drawing winner. Thank you to the MCATA executive for inviting me and giving me such a warm welcome. I hope to be available to speak next year and hope you remember that you can put me to work. I don't like just standing around. I prefer to talk with people as I do a task.
In October I also co-presented a session at the NCTM Regional in Las Vegas. While volunteering at the NCSM booth I was able to make connections with fellow Canadians. I was very surprised to see how many Canadians were in attendance in Las Vegas.
In November I attended an NCSM Board meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The hours were long but the board got a lot accomplished. Some of the items that are being worked on will be launched at the NCSM Annual in New Orleans. Please check the NCSM website for updates.
Upcoming events -
I will be attending an OMCA Retreat from February 13-14. April 7-9, 2014 Annual Conference - Please consider attending and coming to the Canadian caucus. Please invite me to any meetings or conferences. I would love to attend. Please read the following reports from some of the NCSM Canadian provincial leaders. There are a lot of interesting things happening in mathematics education in Canada. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Alberta Report - submitted by Debbie Duvall, an NCSM Alberta Provincial Leader
Changing the Timing of Large Scale Assessments to Support Student Learning:
Every spring Alberta students in grades 3, 6, 9 and 12 are given provincial exams in core subjects to determine if students are learning what they are expected to learn and to report how well students have achieved provincial standards. The results of these exams are shared with schools in the fall of the following school year. Although the goal is to assist schools in monitoring and improving student learning, the timing of these tests is problematic. Students in grades 6 and 9 have moved on to new schools, in most cases, and the end of year results seemed more like "old data" in terms of individual student performance. In May, 2013, Alberta Education announced the Provincial Achievement Tests will be replaced by Student Learning Assessments that will be administered at the beginning of school year. These new tests are readiness assessments that can be used to determine the programming needs for students for the school year. The assessment information provided by these new Student Learning Assessments will be used by all stakeholders to enhance the learning experiences of the students for the upcoming school year. Parents will be more aware of their child's strengths and areas needing improvement, as will the students themselves. This will assist students, parents and teachers to set realistic goals and initiate activities that will more personalize learning. The results of the tests can be used as a basis for meaningful parent-teacher-student conversations and assist the teacher in meeting the learning needs of students. It puts everyone on the same page in terms of expectations for the year.
The assessment information can also help school administrators support appropriate instructional practices and allocate resources.
Collecting information about student achievement at the beginning of the school year and using it to inform teaching and learning is a step in the right direction for large scale assessments.
For further information on Alberta's Provincial assessments go to: education.alberta.ca/admin/testing/achievement.aspx
Manitoba Report - submitted by Sherry Perih
Manitoba Education has initiated a collaborative project designed to support educators in addressing the needs of mathematics. Through participation in the Provincial Numeracy Leaders Network, the goal of the participants is to develop greater leadership capacity for facilitating professional learning in mathematics.
Manitoba Education has hosted sessions centred on data and planning and building leadership that were facilitated by Lucy West. Lucy West's presentation focused on building an educational environment based on collaboration and establishing professional practice. Many were motivated by the powerful presentation. The network has allowed math leaders in the province to collectively dialogue together as a math community.
Manitoba SAGE Conference - Carol Matsumoto
MAMT had another successful provincial conference at Glenlawn Collegiate with 62 sessions and with 842 teachers attending. MAMT's SAGE Conference 2014 will again be held at Glenlawn Collegiate.
Ontario Report - submitted by Peter Saarimaki, NCSM Ontario Provincial Leader
OAME Leadership conference, "Leading and Learning in the 21st Century: Engaging the 21st Century Learner", was held November 8-9. This was the first year to only have 2 days, and attendance was correspondingly down at 75. The sessions were led by Karen Hume a well-known Canadian teacher, administrator, author, speaker, and workshop leader. Each delegate received a copy of Karen's book "Tuned Out: Engaging the 21st Century Learner". The book is a practical guide to both student and teacher engagement in five key areas: Competence, Creativity, Community, Context, and Challenge.
The NCSM table was right beside registration so all the delegates checked out the materials. While only some of the delegates were already coaches or consultants, most of them aspired to leadership roles in their boards.
Quebec Report - submitted by Cheryl Cantin, NCSM, Quebec Provincial Leader
Most of the English school boards are moving towards a PLC model of professional development. We are trying to move toward a more data-driven model of professional development and significant resources have been put into an extensive item analysis of the last two years of Provincial Matriculation exams. We are beginning to look at common formative assessment and what that looks like on a practical classroom level in Mathematics.
Atlantic Canada Report - submitted by Robin Harris, NCSM Nova Scotia Provincial Leader
Nova Scotia Mathematics Curriculum
In September 2013, Nova Scotia became the eleventh of thirteen Canadian jurisdictions to adopt the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol (WNCP) Common Curriculum Framework for Mathematics as the basis of its mathematics curriculum, grades Primary-12. The Common Curriculum Framework was developed by the seven Canadian western and northern ministries of education (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut) in collaboration with teachers, administrators, parents, business representatives, post-secondary educators, and others. The framework identifies beliefs about mathematics, general and specific student outcomes, and achievement indicators agreed upon by the seven jurisdictions. The framework is based on both national and international research by the WNCP, and on the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000), published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
The advantages of adopting the WNCP Common Curriculum Framework for Mathematics for Nova Scotia are as follows:
- Nova Scotia students will follow the same mathematics curriculum framework as all other Canadian jurisdictions, except Quebec and Ontario.
- The revised curriculum provides students with the opportunity to learn mathematical concepts in greater depth, as fewer concepts are introduced each year.
- The WNCP curriculum framework is well supported with a variety of text, electronic, and manipulative resources.
The new curriculum will be implemented over a three-year period. Grades Primary-3 and 10 implemented the new curriculum in September 2013; grades 4-6 and 11 will implement in September 2014; and grades 7-9 and 12 will implement in September 2015.
Nova Scotia Technology Pilot
The province of Nova Scotia is conducting a year-long pilot that will study levels of student engagement, achievement, and attendance. The four schools selected to participate in the pilot are from four boards in Nova Scotia - Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, Halifax Regional School Board, and South Shore Regional School Board. Close to 300 grade 7 students, along with their families and teachers, will participate in this innovative research pilot, which is designed to complement Nova Scotia's mathematics curriculum, enhance teaching and learning, and develop technology skills and digital citizenship.
Students and teachers involved in this pilot will use a variety of online resources; they have been given portable computers or devices and will have technical support. A pilot lead has been assigned to provide guidance for the pilot and to collect research data.
Partial funding for the research pilot is being provided by Jim Spatz, Southwest Properties Ltd., John Risley, Clearwater Seafood Ltd., and other provincial businesses.
Nova Scotia Virtual Schools Professional Communities of Practice - Moodle
The Nova Scotia Virtual School (NSVS) is a common provincial online learning platform created as a joint project between provincial school boards and the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. This learning platform serves as a repository for professional learning and curriculum implementation resources for teachers. Professional learning for Nova Scotia teachers is supported and facilitated at the NSVS through a combination of self-serve teacher professional learning modules, teacher communities of practice, and video conference meeting and learning sessions. Moodle courses available at the NSVS, in the form of teacher communities of practice, have been developed to support the implementation of the new mathematics curriculum in grades Primary-3 and 10. The Moodle courses provide access to a variety of resources including curriculum and support documents, digital texts, assessment resources, multi-media interactive resources, links to online resources, multi-media video resources, and authorized learning resources. New, grade-specific Moodle courses will be launched during each stage of the implementation of the new curriculum.