According to PISA results released today, Island students are reaching high levels of achievement in science, reading and mathematics, showing the largest and only significant improvement among provinces, and attaining the highest equity in student performance in the country.
PISA is an international assessment that tests students around the world at age 15 on their proficiency in science, reading and math every three years. More than 475 Island students, primarily Grade 10 students in 17 schools, took the assessment in May and June, 2015.
In science which was the major PISA domain in 2015, 89 percent of Island students met expectations and performed above the OECD average. PEI students showed the largest improvement in science in the country.
In reading, the average PEI score increased from 486 in 2009 to 515 in 2015, the largest and only significant improvement in Canada in reading. This improvement of 29 points is considered to be approximately one year’s worth of learning. PEI is above the OECD average in reading, and at the Canadian average for the first time. Island students show almost three times the amount of improvement in reading compared to any other province, or in Canada overall in the last 6 years.
The only province to show significant improvement in mathematics, the average PEI score increased from 479 points in 2012 to 499 in 2015. Island students showed double the amount of improvement in math compared to any other province, or in Canada overall in the past three years. Only four provinces performed higher than Prince Edward Island in mathematics.
Canadian students are among the highest achievers in the world in science, reading and math. Among the 72 countries and economies that participated in PISA, only three performed better than Canada in science; one performed better in reading; and six performed better in mathematics.
Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie said Islanders should be encouraged by these results which show Island students outperforming many Canadian provinces and OECD countries.
“PISA is an important indicator of student success because it measures their cumulative knowledge and skills towards the end of their compulsory education,” said the minister. “For PEI to remain prosperous, our young people need to acquire core knowledge and 21st Century skills. PISA 2015 indicates that our youth are showing high levels of achievement in the three key outcomes of science, reading and math, which are essential for full participation in the knowledge economy.”
PISA is also a key indicator of an education system’s performance and the effectiveness of its programs and practices.
“Our students are showing remarkable improvement, due in large part to the leadership of Island teachers and staff who are moving our education system forward by raising standards, improving instruction and closing learning gaps,” he said. “This was supported by the collaborative work we have done to shape the strategic direction our education system, and the major investments we’ve continued to make in instruction, curriculum and assessment.”
In addition to increased achievement in all domains, Prince Edward Island students attained the highest level of equity in student performance in Canada in all three domains.
“The highest performing education systems are those that combine excellence with equity, which measures the gap between the highest and lowest performing students,” said Minister Currie. “Equity is an increasingly important indicator because it means that all students, regardless of their background, have opportunity to reach their learning potential.”
Minister Currie acknowledged that while the latest PISA results are gratifying, there is still room for improvement and no place for complacency. “As a small province, Prince Edward Island is proving that we can be globally competitive. Our students’ success on PISA gives us more reason and encouragement to continue to build a world class education system that supports excellence for Island learners.”
PISA 2015 Results
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) measures the extent to which youth, at age 15, have acquired some of the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies.
PISA focuses on young people’s ability to use their knowledge and skills to meet real life challenges. These skills are believed to be prerequisites for effective learning throughout their lives.
PISA measures skills that are generally recognized as key outcomes of the educational process, and as such, PISA is seen as an effective measure of the relative effectiveness of education systems as a whole.
Canada continues to be one of the top performing countries in PISA. Of the 72 countries and economies that participated, Canada ranks fourth in science, and was outperformed by only one country in reading, and six countries in mathematics.
The exceptionally high performance of Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia continues to place them among the top performing participants globally, making it challenging for other Canadian provinces to reach the Canadian average.
• 89% of PEI students achieved the expected proficiency level in science, on par with Canada.
• The number of students not meeting expectations dropped from 16% to 11%.
• Along with Quebec, PEI showed the largest improvement in science in the country.
• PEI is above the OECD average in Science.
• Only 5 provinces performed higher than PEI.
• PEI showed the highest degree of equity compared to other provinces in science.
• Meeting PISA science expectations means that when students leave school they should be able to understand and engage in discussions about science and technology related issues that shape the world, and have the skills needed to participate in higher education fields related to science.
• Between PISA 2009 and PISA 2015, PEI saw a significant increase in reading, from 485 to 515.
• This improvement of 29 points is considered to be approximately one year’s worth of learning.
• PEI is above the OECD average in reading, and at the Canadian average for the first time.
• Performance by all provinces in reading remained consistent since 2009, the last time reading was the major domain, with the exception of PEI, which saw a significant improvement.
• PEI showed the largest improvement in reading in the country.
• Island students show almost three times the amount of improvement in reading compared to any other province, or in Canada overall in the last 6 years.
• PEI showed the highest degree of equity compared to other provinces in reading.
• Only 5 provinces performed higher than PEI in reading.
• The average PEI score improved from 479 in 2012 to 499 in 2015, the largest improvement in the country.
• Performance by all provinces in math remained stable since 2012, the last time math was the major domain, with the exception of PEI which saw a significant improvement.
• Island students show double the amount of improvement in math compared to any other province, or in Canada overall in the past three years.
• PEI showed the highest degree of equity compared to other provinces in math.
• PEI performed at the OECD average in math.
• Only four provinces performed higher.
• The gap between high and low performing students is an increasingly important indicator because it reflects an education system’s ability to achieve equitable education outcomes.
• PEI has the highest equity in student performance in each of the three domains.
• The gap between high and low achievers in PEI was the smallest in Canada which indicates that in PEI, all students, regardless of their background, have equitable opportunities to learn.
• In PEI, 475 students between 15 years and 3 months and 16 years and 2 months, took the assessment at 17 Island schools in April and May 2015.
• It included a two-hour computer based test on science, reading and mathematics, and a 35-minute background questionnaire providing information about themselves and their home.
• Principals completed a 20-minute questionnaire about their schools.
• In 2015, Prince Edward Island was one of seven provinces that chose to add a one-hour financial literacy assessment. These results will be available in May 2017.
• The computer-based test allows for assessment of key competencies such as collaborative problem solving, and these results will be available in the fall of 2017.