A new de-streamed math course, which replaces the Grade 9 academic and applied courses, is being taught in Ontario’s publicly funded schools beginning in September 2021.
It is designed to provide a learning experience for all students to engage in rich complex mathematics, including new areas like coding, data literacy, and financial literacy. This course also emphasizes connections among mathematical concepts, real-life applications and students’ lived experiences.
Making Connections for Students
This is a critical time for students to see themselves as mathematically capable and competent. Students are looking to see how mathematics might fit into their lives and need to see themselves represented in the mathematics that they engage in.
Effective Instruction and Assessment
Effective mathematics instruction takes place in safe and inclusive learning environments, where all students are valued, empowered, engaged, and able to take risks, learn from mistakes, and approach math learning confidently. Incorporating Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy (CRRP), Universal Design for Learning and Differentiated Instruction, provides authentic learning experiences that meet individual students’ learning strengths and needs.
This begins with knowing the complex identities and profiles of students, having high academic expectations for and of all students, providing support when needed, and believing that all students can learn and do mathematics. This also includes making connections to real-world applications and considering multiple ways of learning and applying math content.
Creating inclusive learning spaces involves building a sense of community with students, where teachers gain insight into who students are, their strengths, experiences, interests, and ways of knowing. This insight allows teachers to plan math activities that make the learning relevant and responsive.
Assessment also plays a key role in student’s ongoing success in a de-streamed math course. Effective assessment is conducted throughout instruction and allows teachers to extend and enrich learning, based on individual student needs.
Effective Teaching and Assessment Strategies for De-Streamed Classrooms
Effective practices for de-streamed classrooms can include:
- Building a class community that creates relational trust which begins with having high academic expectations for and of all students and believing that all students can learn and do mathematics.
- Getting to know each student, including their strengths, interests, and what they identify they need to help them succeed.
- Incorporating activities that explore the beauty of mathematics and showcase how math might fit into students lives.
- Creating a course plan that considers how concepts relate across strands. This could be co-constructed with students.
- Providing multiple ways of learning, including direct instruction and applying the math content (i.e., Low Floor-High Ceiling Tasks) allows students to work at their own pace and take their learning to different levels and depths.
- Leveraging flexible student groupings (i.e. working independently, in pairs or small groups) for specific instruction to support student engagement and reduce math anxiety.
- Using a variety of tools to deepen mathematical understanding (i.e. technology, manipulatives, etc.) which can enhance student communication and application of math.
Effective assessment is conducted throughout instruction and can include:
- Using informal pre-instructional assessment activities such as surveys, student reflections and/or observations.
- Making learning goals and co-constructed success criteria clearly visible.
- Intentionally building informal assessment opportunities at the beginning and throughout instruction to inform teaching.
- Utilizing a variety of assessment approaches, such as conferencing, observations, and student reflections
- Provide ongoing, descriptive feedback on learning and suggest next steps to extend and enrich learning.
Effective instruction in the Grade 9 Math course requires high academic expectations of all students, appropriate supports for learning, and the belief that all students are capable math learners. By placing students’ well-being and academic success at the centre of their planning, teaching, and assessment practices, mathematics teachers can understand how the learning experiences they provide will improve mathematics achievement of all students.
Resources and professional learning opportunities will be made available on this website, the “Supports for Learning/Appuyer l’apprentissage” eCommunity on the ministry’s Virtual Learning Environment.