Student results may taint P.E.I.'s image for newcomers

International student test results released Tuesday that showed P.E.I. 15-year-olds rank last in the country in math, science and reading, might affect how newcomers view the province, say community leaders.

Education is a major factor in deciding where to settle in Canada

International student test results released Tuesday that showed P.E.I.15-year-olds rank last in the country in math, science and reading, might affect how newcomers view the province, say community leaders.

Just as they did in 2009, P.E.I students scored below the OECD average in all three categories according to the Programme for International Student Assessment.

Although Canadian students performed well in a global context in the test, which was given last year, the report singled out P.E.I. as an exception.

The Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce said it's concerned the Island school system isn't producing enough quality workers who can help grow P.E.I. businesses and the economy.

It also worries the results are hurting P.E.I.'s image around the world.

"When you have newcomers that are considering Prince Edward Island as an option for their family to relocate, they look at the education system, our scores, standings, where we are in the country.  And we have not provided the level of education for some of our newcomers," said Keith O'Neill, chamber president.

That's already a problem, said Parson Miao, the president of the Chinese Canadian Association of PEI.

About 1,000 Chinese families have left the province in the past three years, he said.

And he estimates half of them moved to other provinces in search of a better education for their kids.

Miao says there's a perception, at least, that standards are higher in other provinces.

Tina Miao is a high school student, and Parson Miao's daughter. "Many Chinese parents think that the difficulty of our provincial curriculum is not as good as the other provinces. I have two school friends who are studying in Ottawa and Vancouver. From what I heard from them, they have more work to do in their courses." said Miao.

The quality of education on P.E.I. is just as high as in other provinces, said Education Minister Alan McIsaac.

"We use the same math curriculum as 8 provinces across Canada. We work with other provinces with regard to their curriculum," said McIsaac. "Though the PISA scores may not have shown it this time, there have been a lot of increases in our scores from common assessments. We see that our system is really improving."

Common assessments are the student tests administered by the province. Those assessments began in 2006. 


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