Ontario student results on international PISA test hold steady in reading and science, decline in math

TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ -


Results from the 2012 administration of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), released today, reveal that Ontario students are generally performing well in three important academic domains. Their reading and science achievement on the 2012 administration was similar to that in 2009, while their math performance was shown to be on the decline.

Fifteen-year-old students from 65 education systems (jurisdictions) from around the world, including all 10 Canadian provinces, participated. Ontario student achievement matched the Canadian average in math, reading and science. In Ontario, the difference in performance between high- and low-achieving students was smaller than the OECD average, which is an indication of equity in educational outcomes in the school system.


  • The overall average math score for Ontario students has steadily decreased by 16 points over the past nine years, from an average score of 530 points in 2003 to 514 points in 2012.
    • In 2012, students from 10 jurisdictions (Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong‒China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macao‒China, Japan, Quebec, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) performed better than Ontario's in math.1
    • In 2009, students from seven jurisdictions performed better than Ontario's.
    • On the optional computer-based mathematics assessment administered for the first time in 2012, Ontario students performed at the Canadian average and were surpassed by students in only four other jurisdictions (Singapore, Shanghai-China, Korea and Hong Kong-China).
  • The average Ontario reading score was 528 in 2012, compared to 531 in 2009.
    • In 2012, students from three jurisdictions (Shanghai‒China, Hong Kong‒China and Singapore) had reading results that were higher than Ontario's.
    • In 2009, students from one jurisdiction achieved better than Ontario's.
    • On the optional computer-based reading assessment administered for the first time in 2012, Ontario students performed at the Canadian average and were surpassed by students in only one other jurisdiction (Singapore).
    • Girls performed better than boys on this reading assessment in every Canadian province, including Ontario. However, the gap in reading achievement between the genders was smaller when the reading was on a digital device. In Ontario, the gender gap (favouring girls) was 20 points, compared to 36 points in print reading.
  • The average Ontario science score was 527 in 2012, compared to 531 in 2009.
    • Students from seven jurisdictions (Shanghai‒China, Hong Kong‒China,   Singapore, Japan, Finland, British Columbia and Estonia) achieved better results than Ontario's.
    • In 2009, there were five jurisdictions whose students achieved better than Ontario's.


"Ontario students are doing well overall, but this downward trend in math achievement adds urgency to the need to turn this story around. We must continue to be mindful of the knowledge and skills Ontario's students are developing and their achievement in relation to their Canadian and international peers."
Dr. Brian L. Desbiens, Chair, EQAO Board of Directors

"These latest international assessment results reinforce what EQAO's provincial assessments have been demonstrating for the past few years—that Ontario student math achievement is an area that needs urgent attention."
Bruce Rodrigues, Chief Executive Officer, EQAO


Visit www.eqao.com for the following:

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012: Highlights of Ontario Student Results

Infographic: 5 Things This Year's EQAO Results Reveal About Student Learning in Ontario

Aussi disponible en français

About EQAO

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) acts as a catalyst for increasing the success of Ontario students by measuring their achievement in reading, writing and mathematics against a common curriculum benchmark. As an independent provincial agency, EQAO plays a pivotal role by conducting province-wide tests at key points in every student's primary, junior and secondary education and reporting the results. The objective and reliable facts obtained add to the current knowledge about student learning and are an important tool for improvement at the individual, school and provincial levels. On behalf of the Government of Ontario, EQAO coordinates Ontario's participation in national and international student assessments.

1 All comparisons in this news release refer to jurisdictions whose students' achievement was significantly higher, statistically, than Ontario's.

SOURCE: Education Quality and Accountability Office

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