British Columbia gets top grades on Education and Skills report card

B.C. ranks 1st among the provinces

OTTAWA, June 26, 2014 /CNW/ - British Columba surpasses all provinces and ranks behind only Finland and Japan among peer countries, according to The Conference Board of Canada's first "How Canada Performs: Education and Skills" report card to compare the 10 provinces and 16 peer countries.

"British Columbia is at the head of the Canadian class and among the top performers in the world," said Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Industry and Business Strategy. "However, there are areas that require improvement for B.C. to fully capitalize on the talents of its students and workers."


  • More than 91 per cent of B.C. residents aged 25 to 64 have a high-school diploma, higher than all other provinces and peer countries.
  • B.C. has relatively few students with inadequate reading, math and science skills—earning "A" grades on all three indicators.
  • B.C.'s weakest areas are in the number of PhD graduates and the number of graduates in science, math, computer science and engineering disciplines.

B.C. is first among all 26 jurisdictions in the share of the population aged 25-64 with a high school diploma, earning the province an "A+" grade. Given that high school is a precursor to post-secondary education, it is no surprise that B.C. also gets high grades on the percentage of its population with a college diploma ("A") or university degree ("B").

In addition, B.C. has a relatively low proportion of students with inadequate reading, math and science skills, as measured by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test for 15-year-olds. Test results show that the province has the lowest proportion of students with inadequate reading skills among the 26 jurisdictions covered, which earns B.C. an "A+" grade. British Columbia has the second-lowest proportion of students with inadequate science skills and the fourth-lowest proportion of students with inadequate math skills. B.C. also gets an "A" for its large proportion of students with high-level science skills.

B.C. earns another "A" on the indicator measuring equity in learning outcomes — which refers to the gap between immigrant and Canadian-born students on the math section of the PISA test. The province gets a "B" grade on the resilient students indicator—the percentage of 15-year-old students from low socio-economic backgrounds who score well on the math test.

The province does not do as well on adult skills—obtaining "C" grades for the relatively large proportion of adults with inadequate literacy and numeracy skills. However, the province gets an "A" on the proportion of adults with high-level problem solving skills in technology-rich environments.

Like most of the provinces, B.C. does poorly on the number of PhD students graduating in 2011 ("D") and the number of science, math, computer science and engineering students graduating in 2011 ("D-"). Other relatively low grades include a "C" on the gender gap between men and women who have completed post-secondary studies  and a "C" in attracting international students to post-secondary education in the province.

How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada's socio-economic performance. The How Canada Performs website presents data and analysis on Canada's performance compared to peer countries in six performance categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society.

Released today, and building on previous "How Canada Performs" analyses, the Education and Skills report card is the second of six to be produced over the next year on Canadian and provincial socio-economic performance. The Economy report card was published in May 2014. The remaining report cards will follow over the next year.

This is the first year that provincial rankings are included in the report cards. Data sources and report card methodology can be found on the How Canada Performs website.


SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada

For further information: Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 221, E-mail:


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