Ontario students maintain strong reading achievement on international test, show no progress in math and lose ground in science

TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Mixed results for Ontario students on international reading, math and science assessments were announced today in reports released by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). While the province's students have maintained their high levels of achievement in reading, there has been no recent progress in math over the past three assessments and a decline in the province's international standing in science achievement. With more and more countries now participating in these studies, Ontario's position internationally remains at a standstill or is losing ground.

In literacy, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results show Ontario Grade 4 students have maintained their high levels of reading achievement. Only five jurisdictions performed significantly better than Ontario in overall reading achievement.

The 2011 Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) results reveal that Ontario student performance in mathematics has not improved since the 2003 and 2007 studies. In 2011, there were 20 jurisdictions whose Grade 4 students performed significantly better than Ontario's and 10 jurisdictions that outperformed Ontario's Grade 8 students. In science, the performance of Ontario's Grades 4 and 8 students has declined over the past three assessments, with average Grade 4 student scores sliding from 540 in 2003 to 528 in 2011, and from 533 to 521 for students in Grade 8.

"Are these results good? Overall, I'd have to say yes. But are they good enough? Not for a school system that aims to position its students among the best in the world," said Dr. Brian Desbiens, Chair of EQAO's Board of Directors. "Countries across the world are focusing their efforts on improving the educational outcomes of their students. Ontario too must reach for higher achievement to keep pace."

"These latest results confirm what has been seen on EQAO's provincial tests in recent years," said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's Chief Executive Officer. "They provide yet another piece of evidence that we need strong action to improve math and science achievement while we maintain our focus on literacy development."

TIMSS and PIRLS were conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. At the provincial level, the participation of a sample of Ontario Grades 4 and 8 students in TIMSS and a sample of Ontario Grade 4 students in PIRLS was coordinated by EQAO on behalf of the Government of Ontario.

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BACKGROUNDER

About PIRLS

  • PIRLS is a worldwide assessment undertaken every five years and sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.

  • PIRLS has been administered in 2001, 2006 and 2011. Ontario students participated in each assessment.

  • The purpose of the study is to assess the reading skills of Grade 4 students from around the world.

  • In 2011, 58 jurisdictions participated in PIRLS. In Canada, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia participated as seven distinct jurisdictions.

  • In Ontario, 4561 Grade 4 students from 189 English- and French-language schools were randomly selected by Statistics Canada to participate in 2011.

About TIMSS

  • TIMSS is a worldwide assessment undertaken every four years and sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.

  • TIMSS has been administered to Grade 4 students in 1995, 2003, 2007 and 2011.

  • TIMSS has been administered to Grade 8 students in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. Ontario students participated in each assessment.

  • The purpose of the study is to assess the mathematics and science skills of Grades 4 and 8 students from around the world.

  • In 2011, a total of 57 and 56 jurisdictions participated in Grades 4 and 8, respectively. In Canada, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta participated as three distinct jurisdictions.

  • In Ontario, a total of 4570 Grade 4 students and 4756 Grade 8 students participated in 2011.

SOURCE: Education Quality and Accountability Office

For further information:

For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact

Katia Collette
Senior Communications Officer
416-212-7047
katia.collette@eqao.com


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