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.”