Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Allan expels math exam

Course work replaces test in Grade 12

  • Print

Good news for kids heading into Grade 12 this fall -- Education Minister Nancy Allan is subtracting the provincial math test.

The test, usually worth 30 per cent of a student's final math mark, will be replaced next year by course work.

However, the provincial math exam will be back in the 2013-2014 school year.

That's just one effect of a plan to strengthen the curriculum across Manitoba to ensure students are getting enough basic math skills. To do that, Manitoba is delaying the introduction of a math curriculum, designed by Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, that was to be implemented in the fall after years in the making.

"The new curriculum is proving to be problematic. That's raised concerns about its balance," Allan said Wednesday after addressing a day-long math summit of public school and post-secondary educators, students and business people.

"It's moved away from algorithms and into conceptualization."

Allan also promised high school math courses will give students the math skills they need for university, college, and the workplace. And the province will work with university faculties of education to give teacher candidates the training they need to be able to teach math.

The minister noted she's not looking for a return to the days of memorizing times tables as a simple answer, but wants a balance: "We don't want to go back to drill and kill -- that alone is not good enough," she said.

"There's been a move to conceptual thinking about math," said Allan, who emphasized students need to be able to think creatively about math and to experience "the joy of math."

"Problem-solving is critical as well," she said.

Math professors have been critical of faculties of education for admitting future teachers who've taken only consumer math in high school. Allan declined to say Wednesday if the government will push for Grade 12 applied math and/or pre-calculus as an enrolment requirement for education.

The rest of the full-day math summit was closed to the media, but Allan said she expects to hear feedback that will help the province carry out its three goals.

Senior Department of Education bureaucrats said both the current curriculum and the new curriculum include algorithms; students still have to learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide on paper.

But the new curriculum lists those skills as one of several strategies for learning math, which they said have led to misinterpretations about the value and necessity of basic math skills.

Neither new nor old curriculum says specifically at what grade level students should be allowed to use a calculator.

Deputy education minister Gerald Farthing said Wednesday there is a role for rote learning -- such as memorization of times tables -- but some schools have abandoned it entirely.

"Some of the ways we taught them in the past worked and we need to be careful not to leave these things behind. In the past in some schools, maybe in many schools, it was used too much," Farthing said. "Some amount of memorization is important and we need to retain that, that need to practise."

In some schools, the pendulum has swung away from any memorization of tables, said Farthing

Senior education staff is studying highly achieving math systems, including a successful curriculum in Singapore.

Allan convened the math summit after Manitoba placed second-last in a national math test.


-- with files from Catherine Mitchell

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2012 B2


Updated on Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM CDT: The provincial math exam will be back in 2013-2014 school year.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Mia Rabson breaks down the federal budget

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010
  • June 25, 2013 - 130625  -  A storm lit up Winnipeg Tuesday, June 25, 2013. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press - lightning

View More Gallery Photos


Do you think the Jets will win Game 4 on Wednesday?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google