Canadian Students Ranked Among Top Academic Performers

PISA results reveal Canadian education a success

By: Lindsey Addawoo, Staff Writer

Photography courtesy of: Tulane PublicationsCanada has always had a reputation for high education and standardized testing, yet the logistics of just how Canada’s education system embodies student success have never really explored.

Results from a global standardized test, called the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) revealed that in 2009, Canadian students ranked among top academic performers in the world. PISA, which tested students based on their reading, math and science skills, evaluating 15-year old students in more than 70 countries. Canada fell among the top six countries, falling shortly behind China, South Korea and Finland.

American journalist Amanda Ripley analyzed the different education systems in South Korea, Poland, Finland in relation to the United States. Her findings proved that education in these countries was a lot harder than that of the United States, and that not only were creative concepts brought into the learning atmosphere, but there was also a social reverence for the value of education.

Ripley believes it is the teachers who make all the difference. In Canada, this can be interpreted by the wages teachers are paid. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a Canadian teacher with almost two decades of experience can earn about $56 000, compared to the average range of $36 000 to $41 000 in the OECD.

[pullquote]Ripley believes it is the teachers who make all the difference. In Canada, this can be interpreted by the wages teachers are paid.[/pullquote]

Ripley also notes that cohesive learning with parental involvement may not be as beneficial as one might think. In some successful countries she analyzed, parents helped co-ordinate their children’s studying at home, but did not necessarily volunteer at in-school events.

However, PISA isn’t always correct. Pasi Sahlberg, director general of the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) told media that there are some limitations in PISA’s evaluations, such as how students problem-solve, team skills, or creative skills.

OECD revealed that Canadian 15-year-olds spend roughly 12 per cent of their day learning math, and another 11 per cent learning science – numbers just slightly ahead of other surveyed countries.

Canadians shouldn’t get too comfortable: updated PISA results for 2012 will be released later this December.

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