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International test results for Alberta students remain steady

Two international studies reveal Alberta students in Grades 4 and 8 continue to perform strongly in science, math and reading.

On the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011, Alberta students excelled in science, outperforming their peers from the other participating Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec) and scoring among the top seven in the world. Alberta students scored at the international average in math, but not as strongly as students from Quebec and Ontario.

“The performance of Alberta students has remained relatively consistent in science and math, but the fact that other jurisdictions are becoming more competitive highlights the need to continue with our shift towards the vision of Inspiring Education,” said Education Minister Jeff Johnson. “The results from these international studies provide some valuable insights that we can use to continue to improve our curriculum.”

On the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2011, Alberta’s score was on par with the Canadian average, but declined from the last study in 2006. Results also slipped in relation to international rankings. Similar to other Canadian provinces, Alberta students demonstrated significant strength in literary reading, whereas some other top-performing participant countries excelled in informational reading.

“These results clearly show that we need to have a relentless focus on literacy as a foundation to our curriculum and learning objectives as we move forward,” said Johnson. “Literacy skills are a critical competency that Alberta students will need in order to be successful as they progress through higher levels of learning and into their jobs and careers.”

The studies also highlighted that Alberta has some of the smallest gender differences in achievement among students, as well as the highest level of student access to school computers in the world.

The TIMSS and PIRLS are administered by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Approximately 4,000 Alberta students in each of Grades 4 and 8 participated in the TIMSS, with another 4,000 Alberta Grade 4 students participating in the PIRLS.

Backgrounder

Results of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2011 and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011

PIRLS and TIMSS scores are given as averages within a range. Confidence intervals reflect the range of scores rather than the average score to account for sampling and measurement errors. This allows for a more accurate comparison of scores.

Chart for PIRLS Grade 4 Achievement

Chart for TIMSS Grade 4 Mathematics Achievement

Chart for TIMSS Grade 8 Mathematics Achievement

Chart for TIMSS Grade 4 Science Achievement

Chart for TIMSS Grade 8 Science Achievement

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Media inquiries may be directed to:
Kim Capstick
Press Secretary
Alberta Education
780-415-1650
780-405-2983 (cell)
Kim.Capstick@gov.ab.ca
Twitter: @Kim_Cap

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.


Government of Alberta