The Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC) has published a report on educational achievement in Canada.
This report uses data from a variety of assessments. These include: the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP), and the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
While Canada does quite well when benchmarked against other developed nations, different provinces within Canada demonstrate are significant variations.
Alberta consistently outperforms all other provinces in the assessed subject areas of mathematics, reading and writing and science. The CESC report notes that Alberta’s students perform significantly better than those in other provinces.
Stakeholders, including teachers’ unions, have long argued that low pupil-teacher ratios will lead to increased educational achievement. However, Alberta has the highest pupil-teacher ratios in the country.
Alberta’s educational system is distinct from other provinces in two significant ways. It offers more parental choice and more accountability through standardized provincial examinations.
Parents in Alberta have more educational choice than in any other province. Research indicates that increased parental choice leads to improved student academic performances.
Alberta students write more provincial standardized examinations than those in any other province. This means that schools are held accountable in a very public way.
Other provinces could emulate Alberta’s success by enhancing parental choice and increasing accountability through standardized examinations.