04 May 2011

Student Achievement Among Canadian 15 Year Olds

Statistics Canada recently released an Education Indicators study.  I found a particular grouping of tables interesting.  Under their Student Achievement grouping of tables, was the estimated averages of 15 year old students in the Programme for International Student Assessment.  They looked at the categories of reading, science and math and compared 2009 results to previous years scores in each category.

If you look at the numbers, provided below, it is interesting to see what the numbers are saying.  Canada, on average nationwide, has gone by 5 points in Science and Math, and 10 points in Reading.  Every single province has declined in every single subject, except Quebec in Math, and Nova Scotia in Science.

If we broke it down by subject, and used Stats Canada`s recommendation of statistical differences, meaning that there was a 5% difference in the numbers.  When it comes to math, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia, all had significant declines.  For science, only Manitoba experienced a decline.  Lastly, for reading, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta had declines.

If we were to put this on a lowest ranking scale, of significant drops in all subjects.  Manitoba was found in all three categories, therefore the lowest. Prince Edward Island and Alberta would be tied for second last.

I believe this shows numerous things about Canada`s education system.  One, students are progressively doing worse in the subjects of math and reading.  This can be due to preparedness for school, but a look at other tables, I believe shows that kids are prepared for grade school, but they are not prepared for University.  Now this can be due to their own lack of interest in these subjects, or distractions in modernization, such as the TV, internet and social media. Two, science is still liked, and hasn`t suffered as much as the other subjects.  This may be to the credit of computer science industry, and also advancements being made in science.  Three, this isn`t to blame Canadian Educators, I believe they are doing the best they can with individuals who are being prepared well for school, but then home isn`t keeping up.

Finally, I took the liberty of adding up each provinces scores in each of the categories, and subtracted the current years results from the previous years scores, and came up with the following provinces to rank the provinces.

  • Canada -22 
  1. Manitoba -78 
  2. Prince Edward Island -59 
  3. Alberta -43 
  4. Saskatchewan -39 
  5. Newfoundland and Labrador -32 
  6. British Columbia -33 
  7. New Brunswick -15 
  8. Quebec -14 
  9. Ontario -13 
  10. Nova Scotia -5  

But don`t let me tell you about it, have a look at the numbers yourself.

Combined reading scalePISA 2000PISA 2009
standard error95% confidence intervalestimated
standard error95% confidence interval
Canada5341.6531 to 5375245.2514 to 534
Newfoundland and Labrador5172.8511 to 5225066.1494 to 518
Prince Edward Island5172.4513 to 522486*5.5475 to 496
Nova Scotia5212.3517 to 5265165.6505 to 527
New Brunswick5011.8498 to 5054995.5488 to 510
Quebec5363.0530 to 542522*5.8510 to 533
Ontario5333.3527 to 5405315.8519 to 542
Manitoba5293.5523 to 536495*6.1483 to 507
Saskatchewan5292.7524 to 534504*6.0492 to 516
Alberta5503.3544 to 557533*6.8520 to 546
British Columbia5382.9532 to 5445256.5512 to 537

SciencePISA 2006PISA 2009
estimated average scorestandard error95% confidence intervalestimated
standard error95% confidence interval
Canada5342.0530 to 5385293.0523 to 535
Newfoundland and Labrador5262.5521 to 5305184.0510 to 526
Prince Edward Island5092.7503 to 514495*3.5488 to 501
Nova Scotia5202.5515 to 5255233.7516 to 531
New Brunswick5062.3502 to 5115013.5494 to 508
Quebec5314.2522 to 5395244.1516 to 532
Ontario5374.2529 to 5455314.2523 to 539
Manitoba5233.2517 to 530506*4.7497 to 515
Saskatchewan5173.6509 to 5245134.5505 to 522
Alberta5503.8543 to 5585455.0535 to 554
British Columbia5394.7529 to 5485354.8525 to 544

MathematicsPISA 2003PISA 2009
estimated average scorestandard error95% confidence intervalestimated
standard error95% confidence interval
Canada5321.8529 to 5365272.6522 to 532
Newfoundland and Labrador5172.5512 to 522503*3.5496 to 509
Prince Edward Island5002.0496 to 504487*3.0481 to 493
Nova Scotia5152.2511 to 5195123.0506 to 518
New Brunswick5111.4508 to 514504*3.0498 to 510
Quebec5364.5528 to 5455434.0535 to 551
Ontario5303.6523 to 5375263.8518 to 533
Manitoba5283.1522 to 534501*4.1493 to 510
Saskatchewan5163.9509 to 5245063.8498 to 513
Alberta5494.3540 to 557529*4.8520 to 538
British Columbia5382.4534 to 543523*5.0514 to 533

See the entire release here on Stats Canada.