Behind a small independent boys school's EQAO success
What is often being lauded these days in Ontario is the quality of the education system, especially by the "Premier of Education," Dalton McGuinty. However, there is one issue that needs some redress.
The much touted improvement in EQAO scores for the entire province isn't quite accurate when one examines how each respective gender is performing. (Click here to read the EQAO School and School Board Profiles and Reports.)
In fact, what Ontarians are presented with is the average of female and male scores. Not quite reality, Mr. McGuinty. As an example, the province of Ontario reported an EQAO score of 73 in the Writing category for both Grade 3 and Grade 6, but in reality the male score was 67 in each category, with a much higher female score of 80 and 82 respectively. Alarm bells should be ringing for any parent of a male child!
Is it that the boys cannot do the curriculum? Are female students suddenly more intelligent? No. Northmount School, an all-boys, independent Catholic school, in Toronto, Ontario, has been writing the EQAO for the past four years, and has handily outshone their provincial counterparts, both male and female. (Click here for Northmount School's EQAO results.) With some recent media reports questioning the credibility of independent schools in Ontario, is it not interesting that a school of that ilk has participated in the same testing, which the province's publicly funded schools must take, and has done exceedingly well?
This is a verification of quality and delivery of education from an external and highly legitimate source. Why the high success rate?
- A curriculum based on the Ontario Program of Studies, but geared to boys through experiential learning and differentiated assessment and education.
- A literacy program with titles geared to the interests of boys.
- Short lessons, with diversity and opportunities for learning strategies.
- Classifying "Boy Behaviour" as normal not based on the feminization of education model, where female behaviour is the gold standard.
- A mathematics program that favours numeration, applicable to life problems, and calculation; not discussing one's feelings about answers and a language arts-based mathematics diary.
- A genuine counselling and nurturing of positive masculinity through a spirit of service, social graces, virtues and athletics.
- Leaving nothing to accident or secondary and tertiary effects, but developing the entire young man through genuine character education that has as its tenets service, empathy, academic confidence and belonging.
- Academic competitions that encourage collaboration and peer editing/consultation.
- Preparation for EQAO through a dynamic and balanced curriculum rather than pressure-filled month(s) of test preparation, which take away from valuable instruction time.
Boys learn very quickly that co-ed environments are now geared toward the advancement of female learning and development. During elementary school, boys observe that the girls are often the better students, the organizers of student events, the majority of representation in the arts, and the leaders of the school.
"The all-boys format has advantages at every age, kindergarten through high school. But the advantages of the all-boys format are perhaps greater for primary age boys than they are for teenage boys." -Dr. Leonard Sax, Boys Adrift