Ontario's Students World-Class in Science, Mathematics and Reading



    TORONTO, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - Ontario's students have a lot to be proud of.
They are showing themselves to be world-class when it comes to international
comparisons in student achievement. Grade 10 students are in the top five
countries in the world in Science, Mathematics and Reading. The reading skills
of Grade 4 students are in the top three. These results come from the 2006
PISA study, an assessment of 15 year-olds sponsored by the Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development and, in the case of Grade 4 students,
from the 2006 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).
    What makes these results particularly outstanding is our Ontario context.
Thirty-eight per cent of participating Ontario students in the PIRLS Grade 4
literacy test speak a language other than the language of the test at home.
This is well above the international average of 29%. In the PISA study, the
results are remarkable as much for the picture they paint of equity in student
achievement as for the high scores themselves. Socio-economic factors play a
much smaller role in differences in achievement among the participating
Grade 10 students than is the case almost anywhere else in the world.
    "The Ontario Public School Boards' Association congratulates Ontario's
students, their parents, their teachers and school leaders for putting the
province and Canada prominently on the map of academic excellence," said
Colleen Schenk, President of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association.
    What does this mean to the individual school and the individual student?
    In Peel, Grade 4 students from McBride Avenue Public School excelled in
the 2006 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). This was an
outstanding accomplishment given that the language of the home for nearly half
of these students is not English. Mc Bride Avenue's entrance hall is a
mini-United Nations featuring forty-nine different flags of the countries of
birth of the school's student population.
    "The excellent results obtained by our students show that they measure up
academically to the highest achieving students on the world stage," said
Principal Albert Evans. "Our teachers have developed a team planning approach
and this has made a huge difference for our students as they build strong
language acquisition skills."
    At Middlefield Collegiate in York Region, Principal Tony Lewis said
students in his school did not have to take extraordinary steps to prepare for
the PISA assessment. "We have an excellent staff who are very passionate about
their work in teaching science. This is reinforced by a culture of
collaborative learning that includes peer tutoring and informal group learning
among students after class. Our students come from many nations around the
world, where the educational opportunities we offer here are not available to
the same extent. A great many of these young people are highly motivated to
succeed, both in and out of school," Mr. Lewis said.




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For further information: Jeff Sprang, Communications, (416) 340-2540


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