Canadian students front-runners in study of worldwide math skills; Quebec students rank highest

By Andrea Hill | Published Dec 3 2013 by The Montreal Gazette


Math skills – the main focus of the 2012 PISA survey – were broken down by province, with Quebec students found to be outperforming their peers as they had three years prior.

Quebec youth scored well above the Canadian average in math skills, while students in the Maritimes, Saskatchewan and Manitoba saw results lower than the national average. Scores from Prince Edward Island fell below the average for OECD countries.

Quebec was one of only two provinces that did not see a decline in math skills since the last PISA survey. The other was Saskatchewan.

While Johnson acknowledged Canada is not alone in seeing a downward trend in math skills — most OECD countries are witnessing the same thing — he said there is a need for Canada to “take action” to prevent further slipping.

Johnson suggested that provinces look to Quebec for clues on how to improve their own education systems, and said Quebec’s push to provide specialized training for math teachers may be part of the solution.

“One of the best places to spend your money is on teaching quality,” he said. “We need more investment on teachers with more specialized training and expertise in teaching math.”

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