TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The results of a major international study
released today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) show high levels of achievement by Canadian students
in mathematics, reading, and science.
First administered in 2000, OECD's Programme for International Student
Assessment (PISA) is a triennial survey of the knowledge and skills of
15-year-olds near the end of their compulsory schooling. PISA 2012
tested over half a million students, including 21,000 Canadians from
900 schools, on their skills and knowledge in three core subject areas.
The major focus of the assessment was mathematics, with a secondary
focus on reading and science.
Canada is releasing its own companion report, Measuring Up: Canadian Results of the OECD PISA Study, at the same time as the OECD report to provide further information on
the performance of Canadian students at the provincial level.
According to the findings of the OECD report, Canadian 15-year-olds
placed well above the OECD average and remain among the top performers
in mathematics. Of the 65 countries and economies participating in the
assessment, only three OECD countries and six non-OECD countries and
economies outperformed Canada.
"I am very pleased that Canadian youth continue to be globally
competitive in terms of their performance in the critical area of
mathematics," said the Honourable Jeff Johnson, Chair of the Council of
Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), and Alberta's Minister of
Education. "Mathematics is an essential requirement for an information-
and technology-rich economy and society. Our results show that young
Canadians are completing their high-school education with the numeracy
skills they need to succeed."
PISA 2012 reading and science results also put Canada in the top tier of
participating countries and economies. Only four surpassed Canada in
reading, and only seven performed better than Canada in science.
In PISA 2012, Canada also continues to stand out as one of the
high-performing countries with relatively high equity in student
performance, which can be measured by the gap between the highest- and
lowest-performing students. This is an indicator of the relative equity
of provincial education systems.
While Canadian students did well in PISA 2012, results highlight some
areas for continued focus. Although overall Canadian scores in
mathematics remain high, they have drifted downward over time. Science
and reading scores have not improved over the years either, with
science scores showing a decline and reading scores remaining generally
at the same level.
"We cannot be complacent in the face of a downward trend, no matter how
small," said Minister Johnson. "Through our council, ministers of
education are considering data from a variety of sources and have
already begun to discuss the best approaches to improving numeracy. The
issues of student achievement and teaching excellence will be at the
top of our agenda when CMEC meets in 2014. We will work together to
ensure that Canadian students not only continue to place near the top
of PISA performers but improve on their results over time."
Other key findings from PISA 2012 include the following:
Quebec students performed particularly well in mathematics and were on a
par with many of the highest-performing countries and economies in the
assessment. British Columbia students performed very well in reading
and science. Alberta students were on a par with many of the best
performers in science.
On average across Canada, there was significant variation in mathematics
performance according to gender, with boys outperforming girls. This
pattern was similar in most other participating countries. In science,
the performance of boys and girls was similar.
In reading, girls were still well ahead of boys in Canada and
internationally. The gap between boys and girls was smaller for
students who did the assessment on computer.
In mathematics, Canadian results showed some differences by language of
the school system: in most cases, students attending majority-language
school systems outperformed students in minority-language school
Canadian participation in PISA 2012 was made possible through
collaboration among provinces, working through CMEC, Employment and
Social Development Canada (ESDC), and Statistics Canada. The Canadian
report, Measuring Up: Canadian Results of the OECD PISA Study, can be found at www.pisacan.ca or www.pisa.gc.ca. The OECD report can be accessed at www.oecd.pisa.org.
Ministers of education thank the students, teachers, principals, and
other school personnel who gave of their time to participate in PISA
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 exercise of the exclusive
jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more
information, visit us at www.cmec.ca.
SOURCE: Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
For further information:
PIAAC Communications Manager
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 286