Sask. students lag behind all provinces in reading, science, math

A standardized international test show Saskatchewan students are performing worse than all other provinces in three subject areas.

International standardized test assessed 15-year-olds from 72 countries

Saskatchewan students lag behind other provinces in reading, science and math, according to an international standardized test. (iStock)

Standardized international test results show Saskatchewan students performing worse than all other provinces in science, reading and math.

Saskatchewan has also experienced the most significant decline in test scores among the provinces in science and math from 2012 to 2015.

More than half a million 15-year-old students from 72 countries took part in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's test last year.

Canada was one of the top performers in science, ranking fourth and tied with Finland. Canada continues to perform well internationally in reading and mathematics as well.

However, Saskatchewan ranked last in test scores in all three subject areas when compared to other Canadian provinces.

Saskatchewan 15-year-olds performed at the international average in science and reading, but performed below the international average in mathematics.

Standing by the curriculum 

Rob Currie, assistant deputy minister of the Ministry of Education, said the province is proud of the curriculum being used in Saskatchewan's classrooms. However, Currie said the ministry will make sure it's giving students the preparation they need.

Assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Education, Rob Currie, said the province is proud of the curriculum being used in Saskatchewan classrooms. (CBC)

"We are taking the time now to look at the results that have just recently been released to understand what we did well and the areas in which we can approve."

Currie said the ministry will also reach out to other provinces to learn more about what worked for them.

As for the decline in test scores, Currie said it's early to say why that's being seen. He said the results will give the province a chance to determine that.

Teachers' federation responds

The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation wrote in a news release that these results should be "used in conjunction with more accurate, relevant and informative sources of assessment data to support meaningful discussion and decision making."

It emphasized the importance it places on assessments that are closer to the classroom and based on the goals of the provincial education system.

The release also said the international test does not assess other aspects of education like "social, health or economic factors that play an important role in determining student performance."

The international test is intended to "provide a cross-country comparison of average performance" in three subject areas and "only indicates how well a random sample of 15-year-olds is able to apply literacy, mathematical and scientific knowledge and skills in new situations."

The tests are not tied to any curriculum framework, so they do not measure how well students are doing completing curricula in different jurisdictions.