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December 4, 2007
For immediate release
Prince Edward Island Students Show Slight Improvement in Latest PISA Assessment
PEI and Ontario were the only two provinces that improved in science and reading. PEI and Quebec were the only ones to improve in math. All other provinces showed a downward trend.
The assessment was completed in May 2006 by 1,573 students in Prince Edward Island, 22,000 students across Canada and 400,000 students around the world.
The Programme for International Assessment (PISA) is conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to regularly assess the achievement of 15-year-olds in math, reading and science through a common international test. The major focus of the 2006 assessment was science. The two minor domains were reading and math.
Canadian students performed very well in science. Among the 57 participating countries, only two countries, Hong Kong-China and Finland, outperformed Canada in science.
Alberta was the only province that performed above the Canadian average in science. The provinces that performed at about the same were Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. The six provinces that were below the Canadian average included Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Canadian students ranked fourth in reading behind Korea, Finland and Hong Kong-China. Canada had the fifth best scores in math behind Korea, Finland, Hong Kong-China and Chinese Taipei.
Quebec was the only province that scored above the Canadian average in reading and math. Provinces at the Canadian average were Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. Those that scored below the average were Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.
Education Minister Gerard Greenan said the PISA results provide the education system with useful information. “Given that a large part of our provincial government budget is devoted to education, we are interested in the information that PISA provides on the relative effectiveness of our schools and our education system,” he said. “PISA also provides us with detailed provincial information on student, family and school characteristics that influence achievement. This information is very helpful to schools in planning.”
Minister Greenan said there are some indicators in the report that should be encouraging to Islanders. Since the last assessment in 2003, only Prince Edward Island and Ontario showed improvement in science and reading. Only Quebec and Prince Edward Island showed improvement in math. All other provinces scored lower in 2006 than they did in 2003.
“While the improvements we are showing are slight, we are encouraged by the fact that the scores of Prince Edward Island students are up in every domain since the last assessment in 2003. We are one of only two provinces that are improving in reading and in math, while most provinces are showing a downward trend,” said Minister Greenan.
The minister added that he is concerned about the significant gender difference that the report shows among boys and girls in reading. In Canada, girls perform 33 points higher than boys in reading. This is even higher in PEI where the girls score 51 points higher. “This information shows the need to continue the good work being done in our system to improve literacy, such as the major investments we are making in school libraries and the new resources that are being made available to ensure that children are reading at a Grade 3 level by the end of Grade 3. ”
The PISA report can be viewed at www.pisa.gc.ca