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Québec students outshine peers

1902 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Rumors
Literacy rate high for Canadian students but girls have the edge: Study
Meagan Fitzpatrick, Canwest News Service

Published: Monday, April 28, 2008
Most Canadian 13-year-olds are scoring at or above the expected level in reading, but girls proved to be stronger readers than boys according to a Canada-wide study released Monday.
The report by the Council of Ministers of Education on its first Pan-Canadian Assessment Program showed that 88 per cent of all students performed in reading at or above Level 2, the expected level of performance. The results were based on a two-hour written test given to 30,000 students across the country in spring 2007.
Kelly Lamrock, New Brunswick's education minister and chairman of the education council, said he was generally pleased with the test results.

"We know that we are getting world-class results in Canadian schools in this area. Having said that, however, we still need to do better," he said at a news conference in Toronto. "We need to start focusing on who is being left behind and identify shared solutions to reach them."
Provincial scores ranged from 81 to 90 per cent and Quebec led the pack as the only province that landed above the mean score for Canada. Scores were expressed on a scale of zero to 1,000, with 500 being the mean score. Ontario and Alberta were the other top provinces. B.C., Manitoba and Saskatchewan were ranked just below the mean score with 486, 472 and 471 respectively.
Ninety-one per cent of girls performed at Level 2 or above while 87 per cent of boys did. A higher proportion of girls - 26 per cent compared to 19 per cent - scored at the highest level, Level 3. At the low end of the spectrum, the proportion of male students who performed at Level 1 was four percentage points higher than females.
In other words, "There seem to be more female readers who are strong readers than there are males who are strong readers," the report concludes.
Lamrock says other studies, provincial and international ones, have shown similar results and that it's probably now safe to call the gender literacy gap a trend.
"When it first emerged it may have been a one or two survey aberration but it's moving from an aberration to a trend," he said. "I wouldn't be qualified at this point to say what is causing it," said Lamrock.
"I certainly would be willing to say there are a number of things that seem to alleviate it."
Some schools are piloting different approaches in the early years, Lamrock said, such as having separate literacy classes for boys and girls. He said the education council, a body comprised of the country's provincial and territorial education ministers, is going to start focusing on the literacy gap to try to find ways to close it.
The traditional gap between genders in math and science on the other hand appears to have closed according to the assessment program's test results, which showed no difference between boys and girls in math and science scores.
The Pan-Canadian Assessment Program, which replaced the School Achievement Indicators Program, focused on reading as the major test component and science and math as the minor components.
Maria Di Perna, an elementary school principal in Montreal and head of the Canadian Association of Principals, said she was not surprised by the study's findings on literacy differences between boys and girls. It's a difference she noticed when she first entered the education field 33 years ago.
"The boys' learning styles were really different. The content needed to be more relevant, more engaging for them. Whereas girls responded more easily to fiction, boys had an easier time with non-fiction because it was more relevant," she said.
Di Perna said math curriculum has changed over the years to make the material more relevant and applicable for students, instead of having them just memorize formulas. She suggests a similar approach should be applied to improve literacy among boys.
Di Perna said she was mostly pleased with the PCAP results. "Eighty-eight per cent is good, we need to make it 100," she said. "I think we're doing lots great but there's room for improvement so that every child has the same chance for success."
Lamrock said Quebec and Alberta are positive examples for the country. Those two provinces, along with Ontario, ranked the highest in the tests. In addition to reading, Quebec also led the way in math, and Ontario and Alberta were second and third respectively in both of those categories. Prince Edward Island was the lowest in reading and math. Alberta edged Quebec out of the top spot in science however, Ontario was third and Yukon had the lowest score.
"Quebec has a formidable record of having invested aggressively in early childhood education and interventions when kids struggle early," Lamrock said. Quebec was "ahead of the curve" in that respect and may now be seeing returns on those investments, he said. Alberta meanwhile, has created a "culture of creativity and accountability," in its education system which may be one reason for its success, said Lamrock.
"They give their teachers and principals more freedom to teach as they see fit. They have fewer curricular outcomes but they measure more intensely on the ones they have so they really do know why they're teaching and they find out very quickly who is doing it well and that has created a good culture," he said.
A questionnaire was also administered to students that asked them about their reading habits and attitudes, the results of which will be released at a later date.

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Wow!!! Très bonne Nouvelle!!!... Très fière des Québécois!
Felicitations chaleureuses! :cheers:
I saw that on the news. :cheers:
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