"C" Grade for Quebec in Education and Skills Reflected in Uneven Results

There is a notable difference between Quebec students and adults in their performance on skills tests

OTTAWA, June 26, 2014 /CNW/ - Quebec earns a "C" grade and ranks 10th among the 26 jurisdictions on the Education and Skills report card. This is the first "How Canada Performs: Education and Skills" report card to look at provincial performance in an international context.

"Quebec has some areas where it is a world leader, such as student math skills. And its system of education is successful in giving students a chance to succeed beyond their socio-economic background," said Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Industry and Business Strategy. "However, in measures of adult skills— notably literacy — Quebec's performance is not strong compared to most provinces and peer countries."


  • Quebec ranks 10th in overall performance and earns a "C" grade.
  • Quebec students excel in international math testing. The province gets an "A+" grade for having relatively few 15-year-old students with inadequate math skills, and gets an "A" on the proportion of students with high-level math skills.
  • Quebec get low grades on the skills of its adult population, notably in measures of literacy, but also in numeracy and problem-solving skills.


Overall, Quebec gets five "A" or "A+" grades. Two of these grades are earned on the indicators measuring the proportion of the population aged 25-64 that has completed high school and the proportion of the population aged 25-64 that has completed college.

Quebec excels on the math section of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The province ranks first and gets an "A+" for having the lowest proportion of 15-year-old students with inadequate math skills among all 26 jurisdictions assessed. It ranks second on the proportion of students with high-level math skills, earning  an "A" grade.

In addition, Quebec gets "B" grades on each of: students with high-level reading skills; students with low-level reading skills; and students with low-level science skills. However, Quebec does not fare as well when adult skills are tested. Quebec gets a mix of "C" and "D" grades in adult literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills in technology-rich environments.

Quebec ranks second only to Japan among all jurisdiction on the indicator measuring student resilience — the percentage of 15-year-old students from low socio-economic backgrounds who score high on math tests. Quebec gets a "B" grade on equity in learning outcomes, which represents the gap in math scores between native-born and immigrant students.

Quebec is the only province to register an improvement relative to international peers on the number of PhD graduates, moving from a "D" to a "C" in 2010. In 2011, Quebec graduated the most PhDs (per 100,000 population aged 25–39) of any province, but still only earns a "C" grade when compared to international peers.

The Conference Board and HEC Montréal have launched l'Institut du Quebec to examine the socio-economic challenges facing Quebec and will offer ideas and recommendations based on new analyses.

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: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca


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