Nova Scotia students perform well in international assessments

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Math scores see slight drop, reading and science above international average.

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia students are performing at or above the international average in reading, science and math.

The 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment, known as the PISA study, released today, Dec. 3, measured the student achievement of 15-year-olds in 65 countries, including Canada and each of the 10 provinces.

"Our students have again demonstrated that on the world stage, we are among the best," said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey, also MLA for Colchester North, in a news release. "The job ahead is to do even better and that's why we are committed to doing a comprehensive education review."

Nova Scotia's best results were in reading and science, placing in the top third out of jurisdictions assessed. The average performance of Nova Scotia students in reading and science was above the international average.

The focus of the 2012 PISA study was math. Although Nova Scotia students were close to the international average for math, they have slipped since the last time math was the focus of the study in 2003. Math results for the rest of Canada are much like those for Nova Scotia, with scores in all but two provinces dropping.

"The results of Nova Scotia students in math are a concern," said Casey. "Math is a priority area, new curriculum is being introduced, and I know many schools have identified math as an area of focus for Continuous School Improvement. We need to ensure our students have what they need to excel."

Among Nova Scotia results, the study found girls significantly outperformed boys in reading, while there was no significant difference between boys and girls in science and math.

The testing included a digital component. Nova Scotia students scored higher on average on the computer-based assessments for problem solving, reading or mathematics. The results showed that, for Nova Scotia students, digital reading cut the gap between girls and boys in half compared to paper-based reading.

The assessment was administered to 1,365 Nova Scotia students at 60 schools in April and May of 2012. The study, conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, can be viewed at www.pisa.gc.ca .

Organizations: Continuous School Improvement, Organization for Economic Co

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Canada, Colchester North

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