Saskatchewan is at the bottom of the list in a newly released study on math, science and reading when compared to the rest of the country. The Pan-Canadian Assessment Program sees around 30,000 students from across the country tested on the big three subjects, every three years. Based on 2016 information collected, Saskatchewan was tied for 7th out of 10 provinces for reading, 9th for math and tied with Manitoba for worst in science.

But Susan Nedelcov-Anderson, Assistant Deputy Minister of Education, believes the figures don't tell the entire story.

"Saskatchewan students have shown improvement in reading scores since 2007, also improvements in math scores since 2010 when math was the major domain and stability in science scores since 2013 when science was the major domain."

If you subscribe to that interpretation of the results and dive deeper, Saskatchewan students did better in 2016 than the Saskatchewan students who took the test in 2013 in both reading and science but did worse in math according to the recently released report. The report's authors point out Saskatchewan is still significantly below the national baseline in all three subjects when compared to other provinces, which is the intent of the study.

"The Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) is a collaborative project that provides data on student achievement in Canadian provinces and territories.  It is part of the ongoing commitment of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) to inform Canadians about how well their education systems are meeting the needs of students and society. Every three years, close to 30,000 Grade 8/Secondary II students from across Canada are assessed with respect to their achievement of the curricular expectations common to all provinces and territories in three core learning domains: reading, mathematics, and science. The information gained from this pan-Canadian assessment provides ministers of education and other stakeholders with a basis for examining their provincial curriculum and other aspects of their school systems.

School programs and curricula vary from province to province and from territory to territory across the country, so comparing results in these domains is a complex task. However, young Canadians in different provinces and territories learn many similar skills in reading, mathematics, and science. PCAP has been designed to determine whether students across Canada reach similar levels of performance in these core disciplines at about the same age, and to complement existing provincial/territorial assessments with comparative Canada-wide data on the achievement levels attained by Grade 8/Secondary II students."

You can find the full report here.

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