Canadian students falling in world math ranking

N.S. students in OECD study are meeting world average in science and reading, but fall below Canadian average in most categories.

The performance of Canadian 15-year-olds in international mathematics rankings has declined by 14 points in the past nine years.

The trend was revealed in an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development study released today.

High school students from 65 countries — including Canada — were assessed on reading, math and science competency. All 10 Canadian provinces took part including 1,365 students from Nova Scotia.

Students finishing school for the day at Sacred Heart High School in Halifax. (Photo: Celina Ip)

Nova Scotia students performed at the OECD average in science and reading. However, the Canadian companion report found that Nova Scotia students perform below the Canadian average on:

  • computer-based mathematics
  • print reading
  • science

Eleven countries had a larger percentage of students excelling in mathematics than in Canada. Those countries included: Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong-China, and Korea. They had 30 per cent of students performing at the highest level. In Nova Scotia, fewer than 10 per cent of students are achieving that rank.

“The results of Nova Scotia students in math are a concern,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey in a news release. “Math is a priority area, a new curriculum is being introduced and I know many schools have identified math as an area of focus for Continuous School Improvement.”

Nova Scotia students were on par with their international peers in Switzerland and New Zealand in terms of scientific literacy and they achieved equal success in reading with students from Vietnam, Germany and France.