Canada well above OECD average on PISA

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December 06, 2016

Approximately 20,000 Canadian 15-year-olds from about 900 schools participated in international PISA tests in 2015. Results show Canada's public education system is strong.

In 2015, Science was the main focus of PISA tests of 15-year-olds, but students were also tested in reading and math.  Among the overall results:


  • Canada ranks fourth with Finland, after Singapore, Japan, and Estonia.
  • 89% of Canadian 15-year-olds performed at or above level 2 (the baseline).
  • Canada has no overall gender gap in science performance, but boys are more likely than girls to be in the highest- and lowest- performing groups.
  • Finland is the only country where girls outperform boys in science.
  • Canada does well in equity: Only 9% of the variation in performance is explained by students’ socio-economic status. In Singapore, it is 17%.
  • Ontario students are at the Canadian average – BC, Alberta and Quebec are above.
  • Among Canadian provinces (territories did not participate), Ontario has the largest gap between high- and low-achieving students.
  • 37% of Ontario students reached level 4 or above – 10 percentage points above the OECD average, but compared to 44% in Alberta.


  • Canada ranks second after Singapore.
  • The gender gap in reading (girls outperform boys by 26 points) has improved in Canada.
  • Ontario ranks 5th in the world after Singapore, BC, Alberta, and Quebec
  • Among Canadian provinces, Ontario has the greatest gap between high and low-performing students in reading


  • Canada 10th among countries and economic entities (China includes 4 cities)
  • After a significant decline between 2003 and 2012, Canada’s scores remain steady since 2012
  • Among provinces, Quebec is above Canadian average, BC and Alberta are at the average, Ontario is just below

Click here to read the press release from the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada

Click here to read the report on Canadian results

Click here to read the international PISA report.