Tuesday, December 7, 2010

PISA: Canada's education 'among best in world'

Canadian students enjoy equal education regardless of background: Report
The Canadian Press: A new report ranks Canada's education system among the best in the world with its students performing well regardless of their socioeconomic background. The largest international assessment of reading, math and science in developed economies highlights Canada as a place where 'students tend to perform well regardless of their own background or the school they attend.'

The study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development places Canada in the top 10 for all three categories, with scores that come in above average.

The highest Canadian score was in reading, where Canuck students ranked sixth. The ministers council ranked Canada fifth in reading because it doesn't consider the two-point difference with fifth-place Singapore to be statistically significant.

When it came to science, Canada placed eighth. Meanwhile, Canada placed 10th in math -- its weakest area --but the country still had above average scores. [The U.S. was 17th in reading, and below average in both science (18th place) and math (a three-way tie for 30th place).]

The Programme for International Student Assessment tests 15-year olds in 65 economies every three years to evaluate the quality, equity and efficiency of national education systems. The study found the best systems were the most equitable, meaning students from disadvantaged backgrounds were just as likely to do well academically.

Canada fared relatively well in this aspect with just 9 per cent of the variation in student's performance related to a pupil's background. That compared to 17 per cent in the U.S. The report also found Canadian 15-year olds on average performed more than one school year ahead in math than their U.S. counterparts.

A video series profiling policies and practices of education systems that demonstrate high or improving peformance in the PISA tests.
Excerpts from summary:
  • Most Canadian high school students do well in education, independently of their socio-economic status.
  • Handling the education challenges facing immigrant children is one of Canada's social and political priorities.
  • The general social environment in Canada is favorable for education. Society is viewed as having collective responsibility for children's educational welfare.
  • Canadian multiculturalism seeks to respect the importance of native cultures while incorporating immigrants into a distinctive Canadian identity.