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Ontario removes streaming in new Grade 9 math curriculum. Here’s what will change


The Ontario government has unveiled a new Grade 9 math curriculum set to begin in the fall that would see academic and applied streams merge with a focus on coding and financial literacy.

The new programming was announced on Wednesday and is expected to go into effect in September.

The most notable change in the curriculum is an end to the academic and applied math streams. High school students in Ontario typically have to choose between more practical, hands-on applied courses or more theoretical academic courses in core subjects.

However, advocates have long argued that streaming ends up dividing students rather than providing them more options and disproportionately impacts racialized and low-income students.

In September 2021, all Grade 9 students will take the same math course, whether they are in an English or French language program. Officials say that the goal of the curriculum will be to ensure students are prepared for all options in Grade 10 and 11.

“I think it's fair to say that the rules have changed, the economy has changed, the job market has changed, so should the curriculum that informs and inspires your child,” Education Minister Lecce told reporters at a virtual news conference.

“This is going to help young people make the best decisions for their lives then inform them about the skill sets that they need.”

The government has said it will be providing school boards with $2.9 million in funding to prepare students for the transition to the new de-streamed math course and to address learning loss. Officials say that one-on-one online tutoring services will be available.

The new curriculum will build off concepts modified for Grade 1 to Grade 8 students last year, including socio-emotional learning, data and financial literacy and coding.

Here’s what students and parents can expect in September:

Strand A: Social-emotional learning and mathematical thinking

This was a theme presented in the 2020 math curriculum and focuses on giving children the confidence they need to learn and think critically. Officials say that it is meant to “offer opportunities to build healthy relationships and develop a healthy mathematical identity” while recognizing sources of stress.

The new curriculum will also connect mathematics to real-life problem-solving skills.

Strand B: Numbers

Students will gain a better understanding of the way numbers can be written and used to solve problems, including fractions, decimal numbers, integers, percentages, ratios, rates and proportions.

Strand C: Algebra

Students will work with algebraic expressions and equations, as well as linear and non-linear relations. Officials say that coding skills will be applied to understand complex mathematics, find patterns and make predictions.

Strand D: Data

Students will learn how to collect, store and use data. They will also examine how data is used to inform decisions and solve problems in real-life situations.

Strand E: Geometry and Measurement

Students will learn about geometric properties and their real-life applications, including units of measurements.

Strand F: Financial Literacy

This is a continuation of the Grade 1 to Grade 8 financial literacy strands, in which students were asked to demonstrate an understanding of Canadian currency, financial management and consumer awareness.

In Grade 9, students will analyze a variety of financial situations to explain how mathematics can be applied. They will also learn about interest rates and other factors that can impact purchases.

The Ministry of Education says it has been meeting with school boards and community partners to ensure they have supports for the new curriculum. This includes educator guides, overview videos and webinars, which will be available throughout the rest of the month.

Officials said they do not expect educators to go to the webinars during the summer break.

The Ministry of Education did not say whether students and parents should expect a removal of streaming in other courses or grades in the future. Top Stories

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