Canadian high school students ranked among the top 10 countries on an international math and reading test despite scores declining sharply in both subjects over the past 20 years, according to a new global report. The results of the Programme for International Student Assessment—better known as the PISA test—revealed that Canadian students scored higher than the OECD average in mathematics, reading, and science. Canada scored ninth overall in math and was the only country in North America to make the study’s top 10. Canada also scored sixth in reading and seventh in science. Despite performing well internationally, Canadian students’ math scores have dropped 15 points between 2018 and 2022, the equivalent of losing out on three-quarters of a year of learning. Reading scores dipped 13 points while science scores were slightly more consistent, with a three-point drop. Only 12 percent of Canadian students ranked as high math achievers, scoring at Level 5 or 6, compared to Singapore’s 41 percent, China’s 29 percent, and Japan’s 23 percent. US Students’ Math Scores Dropped, but Held Steady in Reading, Science: Report Ontario Education Ministry Wins Appeal Over Claim That Math Test for Teachers Is Racist He cautioned both policymakers and parents against trying to implement a quick fix such as hyper-focusing on math at the expense of other subjects. Ms. Stokke pointed to the way math is being taught in the classroom as a problem, citing a lack of proper professional development (PD) for teachers. The key to students excelling in math is simple, Ms. Stokke said. It comes down to “explicit instruction” and a lot of practice. Fourteen percent of Canadian students scored at Level 5 or higher in reading, more than double the OECD average of 7 percent. Eighty-two percent of students in Canada scored a Level 2 or higher in reading compared to the 74 percent OECD average. In science, 12 percent of Canadian students were top performers compared to the OECD average of 7 percent. Some 85 percent of students in Canada attained Level 2 or higher in science, again above the OECD average of 76 percent. Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario all performed above the OECD math average while students in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador did not. In reading, Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island students shared top standing compared with the other provinces. Male students outperformed female students by 12 points in math while girls scored 24 points higher than boys in reading. Eighty-one countries participated in the 2022 PISA testing, with more than 23,000 Canadian high school students writing the test.

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