Canadian students make the grade in mathematics according to major new report

TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - A major new report released today by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), indicates that over 90 per cent of Canadian students in Grade 8 are achieving at or above their expected level of performance in mathematics. Almost half are achieving above their expected level.

The Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) was created by ministers of education in 2003 to serve as a national report card on how well Canadian youth are doing in core learning subjects. It complements assessments in each province and territory and ensures that student performance can be compared across the country. PCAP is also aligned with key international studies in which Canada participates such as the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

For PCAP 2010, close to 32,000 Grade-8 students from over 1,600 schools across the country were tested. Math was the major focus of the assessment. Math performance levels were developed in consultation with independent experts in education and assessment and align broadly with internationally accepted practice. Science and reading were also assessed.

"Today's PCAP results are good news for students, parents, and teachers alike," said the Honourable Ramona Jennex, Chair of CMEC and Nova Scotia's Minister of Education. "They confirm that Canadian youth are acquiring the foundational math skills they need as they move ahead to secondary and postsecondary education."

Some key findings from the report:

  • In math, there was no significant difference in the performance of girls and boys at the national level. However, more boys than girls were able to demonstrate high-level math knowledge and skill proficiency.

  • For Canada as a whole, girls performed better than boys in both science and reading. More variation was seen at the provincial and territorial level.

  • In most provinces and territories, students in minority-language school systems outperformed students in majority-language systems in mathematics. This was reversed, however, for reading, where students in majority-language school systems outperformed students in minority-language systems. There was generally no significant difference by language in science performance.

The current nine-year cycle of PCAP began in 2007. With PCAP 2010, some analysis over time is now possible in the area of reading skills. Data for 2010 suggest that overall performance has declined somewhat from 2007, in particular in French-language school systems. As in 2007, girls in 2010 continue to outperform boys in reading.

"Ministers of Education have long recognized the need for transparent, comparable information about provincial and territorial education systems," said Minister Jennex. "PCAP is in fact just one of a number of pan-Canadian and international data survey instruments coordinated by CMEC that provide us with the data we need to make informed policy and program decisions about education in Canada."

PCAP 2010 also collected extensive contextual information from questionnaires completed by students, teachers, and principals. This information will be published in the coming months and should offer insight into some of the factors that may influence student performance.

The next iteration of PCAP is already under way. PCAP 2013 will focus mainly on science; mathematics and reading will also be assessed.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the fulfillment of the constitutional jurisdiction for education conferred on the provinces and territories. For more information, visit us at

SOURCE Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

For further information:

Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-929-6970
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259

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Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

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