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Measuring Up: Canadian Results of the OECD PISA Study

February 24, 200824 February 2008

Reading, Publishing and Literacy

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This report provides a detailed examination of the performance of Canadian 15-year olds in science, reading and mathematics in 2006. As noted in Statistics Canada’s Daily article highlighting the report’s findings, “Canadian 15-year-old students still are among the best in the world when it comes to science, reading and mathematics”.

The test results are based on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Reading literacy is defined as “an individual’s capacity to understand, use and reflect on written texts, in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential and to participate in society”.

On the reading tests, only students from Korea, Finland and Hong Kong-China performed better than Canadian students. Compared with other countries, there was relatively little disparity in reading results between the bottom one-quarter and the top one-quarter of Canadian students. Canadian students’ performance in reading remained stable from previous tests.

Within Canada, students in all provinces performed at or above the OECD average. However, minority-language students had somewhat different results on the reading tests: “students enrolled in the French-language school systems in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba performed significantly lower in reading than did students in the English-language system in the same province. In Quebec, student performance did not differ between the English-language and French-language school systems.”

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