Executive Summary of by 4XNKy5H



Executive Summary

This report presents an analysis of the reading and mathematics performances of Nova
Scotian public school students who identified themselves as African Nova Scotian, First
Nations (primarily Mi’kmaq), Acadian, or of other European ancestry. The analysis
combined information from the 2006-2007 Student Self-Identification Survey
(administered to students served by Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, Strait
Regional School Board, and Tri-County Regional School Board) with the performance
data from the 11 provincial assessments administered by the Department of Education
between 2003 and 2008. The main findings are:

      Sizable gaps characterize the performances of learners of different cultural heritage. On
       all assessments, learners of a European heritage obtained the highest average scores, were
       most likely to be in the top 25 percent of achievers, and least likely to find themselves in
       the bottom 25 percent. African Nova Scotian learners typically fared worst on the
       provincial assessments, followed by First Nations and then Acadian learners.

      The performance gaps in mathematics are of approximately the same magnitude as those
       found for reading. Further, the relative performances of African Nova Scotian, First
       Nations, Acadian, and learners of European descent are the same in mathematics as in
       reading, with the exception that First Nations and African Nova Scotian learners are
       approximately equal in their mathematics performance.

      The cultural identity performance gaps are manifest in grade 3—the earliest assessments
       available for this report. These gaps persist through the grade 9 assessment. However,
       there is no evidence to indicate that the performance gaps associated with cultural
       identity either increase or decrease over the school years.

      Trends in performance gaps associated with cultural identities are not the same for
       students of different cultural self-identities. Specifically, the performance gaps for
       Mi’kmaq and Acadian learners have been declining somewhat in recent years. In
       contrast, no secular trend was found for African Canadians.

      There are two additional indicators that African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq learners
       experience school difficulties: a) they are especially likely to be below grade for their
       age, and b) a higher proportion of them require test adaptations. Between the transition
       from elementary to high school, the rate of growth in reading performance is significantly
       higher for students of European descent than it is for those of other cultural identities.
       Acadian, African Nova Scotian, and Mi’kmaq learners appear to have the most limited
       reading performance gains.

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