Getting Back to Basics Leading to Better Student Outcomes

EQAO results show modest improvement in reading, writing and math scores across the province

Photo: Students from College Hill PS in Oshawa shared ideas for improving the mental health initiatives in their school.

TORONTO —This morning, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released its annual student assessment results that demonstrate encouraging progress in student outcomes. These results demonstrate that Ontario’s plan to provide a stable school year without interruption with a renewed emphasis on getting back to basics and improving foundational skills is working. However, there is more work ahead to ensure continued positive outcomes for students.

“EQAO data results show that Ontario’s historic investments in public education and unwavering focus on keeping kids in class with a back-to-basics education are leading to better student outcomes,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Given Ontario’s increasing investments in literacy and math, and the improvements students are making in those skills, now is the time to work together to ensure students stay in class learning essential skills that will set them up for long-term success.”

Overall, the EQAO results are showing gains in reading, writing and math scores. Math achievement is trending upward across all grade levels in both English and French, including between 2 to 5 percentage point increases in Grade 6 and Grade 9 math. At the same time, literacy achievement is stable or increased across grade levels, including improved literacy success rates on the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) among first-time eligible Grade 10 students. Similar to testing in other Canadian jurisdictions, Ontario EQAO results show stability and moderate gains, which stem directly from kids being back in the classroom without disruption and targeted supports focused on lifting literacy and math competencies.

Ontario has implemented new student supports, new historic investments and a modernized curriculum. For the 2023-24 school year, the government is investing more than $27 billion to school boards. With $700 million more in base education funding than last year, Ontario students are benefiting from access to 2,000 more educators, including teachers with specialized expertise in literacy instruction, doubling math coaches in classrooms, a Math Lead in every school board and the creation and deployment of a Math Action Team to underperforming school boards to drive change and improve math achievement.

As EQAO results show, the government continues to make the case that stable in-person learning, with a renewed focus on literacy and STEM education will lead to positive mental, developmental, physical health and long-term academic success. Ontario is ensuring students are graduating with foundational skills for the jobs of tomorrow.

Quick Facts

  • The 2022-23 EQAO math results generally align with what we are observing in other jurisdictions, both across Canada and internationally. With respect to reading and writing, Ontario’s 2022-23 results are strong and stable amidst fluctuating results found across other provinces and jurisdictions around the world.
  • Last year, students experienced the first uninterrupted school year since 2018-19. They also received early interventions through Ontario’s ambitious Plan to Catch Up, including enhanced tutoring support programs focused on math and literacy made possible by a landmark $175-million investment, while also expanding summer learning programs in reading and math.
  • Students in Year 2 of Kindergarten to Grade 2 can now benefit from early reading screening — the largest screening program in Canada.
  • Students are now receiving new, up-to-date curriculum, including the revised Grades 1 to 8 Language and Français curriculum, new de-streamed Grade 9 English and Français courses, and an emphasis on foundational reading and writing skills throughout all grades.
  • New learning materials for Grade 7 and 8 students have been released to help students build a mental health toolkit. This toolkit will help students learn how to manage stress, understand the relationship between mental health and mental illness, and, most importantly, know when and how to get help.
  • Secondary students will learn how to create a budget, manage their money, protect themselves from financial scams, and plan for long-term purchases, such as buying a house or car with new financial literacy modules.


“This year’s achievement data for English and French-language schools show promising improvement in mathematics and stability in reading and writing. These data can be utilized alongside other credible sources to foster conversations in support of student success across the province.”

– Dr. Cameron Montgomery
Chair, EQAO

“With the extraordinary challenges facing educators in recent times – COVID, influx of new Canadians choosing Ontario as their new home, changes taking place in the workplace leading to demands for new skills, and so on, making progress in widespread student performance is quite remarkable. In such an incredibly challenging world, we extend our hope that Ontario can continue to achieve progress in helping our youth prepare for, and build, a successful future.”

– Gary Rabbior
President, Canadian Foundation for Economic Education

SOURCE Province of Ontario

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