Ontario to eliminate streamed courses in Grade 9 starting next September


TORONTO — Ontario will eliminate the practice of academic “streaming” for students entering high school next September.

Deputy Education Minister Nancy Naylor outlined the planned changes to Grade 9 courses in a memo to school boards.

The Progressive Conservative government promised last year to end the controversial practice that places students in “academic” or “applied” courses.

Streaming attracted concern that it worsened inequity in education by disproportionately funneling marginalized students into the applied stream.

Students began taking a new one-stream math course this semester and Naylor says changes are coming to science, English, French and geography courses.

Naylor’s memo, sent Wednesday, says a new science course will be issued next spring that covers biology, chemistry, physics and earth and space science.

She says the course will cover concepts related to technology, society and the environment and have students apply their knowledge in situations relevant to their lives.

Applied courses in English, French and Canadian Geography will no longer be offered and all students will take the existing academic course.

Naylor says the “core French” course can still be offered for students who have limited knowledge of French or haven’t taken the minimum number of elementary French instruction hours.

The memo says an Education Ministry addendum is coming for Grade 10 academic and applied math courses to be implemented for the next school year.

She says those documents will outline learning expectations for Grade 10 students to help transition from the new Grade 9 math course.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government is removing barriers for all students.

“We will continue to take action to lift up all students, with an ambitious plan to support better pathways to the skilled trades, post-secondary, and good-paying jobs,” he said in an emailed statement.

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press