Education Minister Stephen Lecce has announced the release of a new Grade 9 math course, as part of the province’s four-year mathematics strategy to help ensure all students can build the skills and confidence they need to succeed and excel.
Intended to equip students with valuable learning opportunities that will support their success in the workforce, the course includes mandatory new learning on coding, data literacy, mathematical modelling and an emphasis on financial literacy.
The new course also ends the practice of streaming Grade 9 students into applied and academic courses, a practice that has in the past disadvantaged some students. Ending streaming will keep options open for all students to pursue postsecondary education and training in any pathway they choose.
The Ministry of Education will also work with its education partners to ensure teachers and students are supported with the new math course.
The course represents a major update that reflects emerging job-market needs, emphasizes real-world applications and responds to key recommendations provided by employers and education experts. It is a significant shift in how Ontario teaches students about mathematics and represents the first update since 2005 – the same year YouTube was launched.
To better equip students with the skills they need to succeed, lift student math performance, and strengthen numeracy skills, the course:
- Ensures relevance to today’s job market with an emphasis on practical life skills – from the concept of interest, debt, savings, personal budgeting and price comparisons.
- Builds on learning from the modernized and landmark Grade 1-8 math curriculum to better prepare students for more advanced math to allow students to pursue any postsecondary, skilled trade and pathway in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that they choose.
- Helps students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow by introducing new learning of how to apply coding skills to understand complex mathematics and to make predictions. In addition, the course builds on students’ understanding of data to represent and analyze real-life situations.
“We are better preparing students with the life and job skills they require – with a focus on financial literacy, coding, and data literacy – to ensure Ontario students succeed,” Lecce said. “With an emphasis on real-world applications for mathematics, this course will teach students valuable fundamentals that will give them a competitive advantage when they graduate.
“With new math-focused learning supports and a new curriculum, our government is taking the first step toward ending early streaming in Ontario, while promoting equal opportunities for all students.”
Youth unemployment in Canada remains well above the rate of the G7 average in 2020. Too many young people are out of work, in work unrelated to their skills or underemployed. As part of its efforts to ensure that the curriculum reflects the life and job skills young people need today, the Ontario government is releasing a new Grade 9 course that will show how math can be applied in real-life situations, for example, in making major purchases by examining how interest rates and other factors affect pricing.
This new curriculum is the next step of the government’s four-year, $200-million math strategy to reverse a decade-long decline in performance of Ontario’s students. The new math course, which replaces the Grade 9 academic, applied and transfer courses, will be taught in Ontario’s publicly-funded schools beginning in September 2021 and will provide students with key concepts and skills that build from the new elementary math curriculum released in spring of 2020.
The new course is also part of the government’s plan to end streaming for Grade 9 students to address policies and practices to address the achievement gap and creation of barriers for students from historically marginalized groups, such as Black students, Indigenous students, students from low-income families and students with disabilities or special education needs. With the introduction of this curriculum, all high school students will take the same math course in Grade 9 which will allow for the same eventual opportunities for all and an improved ability to pursue the pathway of their choice after their K-12 education.
The ministry has been meeting with school boards and community partners over the winter to plan for de-streaming to ensure teachers and students will be supported with the implementation of the new curriculum. Supports include parent and educator guides, educator webinars and modules, as well as classroom-ready resources, such as lesson plans.
The ministry will also be requiring all educators to participate in mandatory Professional Activity days focused on anti-racism, anti-discrimination training, as well as mathematics, including the new curriculum. The ministry is also continuing to provide students with access to one-on-one online tutoring services through Mathify and Eurêka!, as well as through school board-funded programs.
The Ontario government also announced additional targeted investments to support all students to improve math performance, with an emphasis on under-represented students. Those investments include $2.9 million for school boards for the Targeted Math and Literacy Support Focused on De-streaming funding to prepare students for their transition to the new de-streamed Grade 9 math course and to address learning loss.