LETTER: Sharp decline in Nova Scotia’s education system
It was interesting to read from parents and educative experts worry about long-term effects of learning loss, caused by school closures during COVID pandemic.
Parents wonder how many programs were not covered during the close; whether the fittings will be made in September; or whether students will move on without benefiting from the uncovered program of study.
Where were their concerns about the long-term effects of learning loss over the past 40 years? This epidemic of academic mediocrity began in the early 1980s with the Whole Language Program. The teachers were told to follow the plan. Reluctantly, they complied, knowing the result would be a parody of uncorrected errors that would form the core of future adult language. Isn’t that why we need computer programs like Spellcheck and apps like Grammarly?
Parents weren’t concerned about loss of learning when semester system was scaled back instruction 49 hours per course, at the secondary level; when inclusive education has seeped into our classrooms and resulted in an increasing number of courses below grade level; when universities did not place a particular value on specialized courses and students chose to take these flexible courses, and specialized courses almost disappeared in many institutions of higher learning. schools.
They also don’t seem concerned that the disappearance continues today, with fewer high school students enrolling in college courses. The result has been an increasing number of students receiving high school diplomas based on higher elementary level challenge, and graduation becomes a celebration of mediocrity.
More Examples of Learning Loss
Struggling to meet challenges is a necessary ingredient of learning and living. If students are rewarded for backing down in the face of challenges in school, will they have the confidence to meet life’s challenges?
If parents believe that these trends have not resulted in learning loss, consider the following: Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment program that measures reading, mathematics and scientific culture of 15-year-old students. Students’ results place them in one of five levels. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, a sixth level appeared, below level one; students able to read words but unable to form sentences. Remember, they were 15 year olds!
The Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Score for Grade 4 consisted of sentences with an average of eight words or less and an average of 123 syllables or less, and corresponds to the comic book reading level. The Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Score for grades 7 and 8 consisted of sentences with an average of 17 words or less and an average of 147 syllables or less. This is the standard for high school and adult literacy levels, and abstract reading level.
However, the new Flesh-Kincaid chart no longer includes 4th grade. His reading ease score is now the 5th grade reading ease score. The old grade 7-8 reading ease score is now the grade 9-10 reading ease score. The Early Reading Years used to be P-3 grades, but now appear to be P-4 grades. Years of reading to learn used to be 4th to 12th grade, but now looks like 5th to 12th grade. It seems that we have slipped a school level.
A lot of money has been invested to meet the needs of students, but it is time to review our educational model and stop the disappearance of our education system.
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