International tests (PISA) show that Canada’s performance continues to decline


Fraser Institute

TORONTO, Sept. 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Despite relatively strong international scores on recent PISA international tests, results in all three disciplines – reading, math and science – have declined across the country, dramatically in some provinces, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, nonpartisan Canadian public policy think tank.

Conducted every three years, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is the most comprehensive and widely accepted measure of the academic skills of lower secondary students worldwide.

“Policymakers and educators should not let Canada’s relatively high international ranking in the PISA tests distract from the worrying fact that every province’s scores in all three disciplines are falling,” said Derek J. Allison, professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, principal investigator at the Fraser Institute and author of What international tests (PISA) tell us about education in Canada.

The study finds that in the 2018 PISA assessment, the most recent for which results are available, Canada ranked relatively high, outperforming all G7 countries in reading and ranking second among G7 countries ( after Japan) in mathematics and science.

But above all, in all three subjects, the results have decreased. Over the twelve years from 2006 to 2018, Canada’s reading score fell by 7 points while all other G7 countries rose, up 9 points in the UK and 8 points in Italy. In science, Canada lost 17 points while the United States gained 14 over the same period. In mathematics, Canada has lost 15 points over these twelve years, while four G7 countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, have gained an average of 10 points.

“We must always strive to do better in education, and the fact is that the scores in all Canadian provinces are going in the wrong direction,” Allison said.

“The PISA tests are an opportunity for policy makers and educators to learn best practices from other higher performing jurisdictions and course correct where necessary for the benefit of their students.”

Derek J. Allison, Principal Investigator
Fraser Institute

To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Drue MacPherson, Fraser Institute
Such. : (604) 688-0221 ext. 721
Email: [email protected]

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and education organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal and links to a global network of think tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and widely communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choices on their well-being. To protect the independence of the Institute, it does not accept government grants or research contracts. Visit


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