State of the Nation 2014

Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation System: Canada's Innovation Challenges and Opportunities

Annex 4: Talented people

Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)

As noted in Chapter 4, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD's) PIAAC provides internationally comparable measures of literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments for adults 16 to 65 years of age. The data show that Canada achieved the OECD average in literacy, with an average score of 273.5, and just below the OECD average in numeracy, with an average score of 265.5.

On the problem solving in technology-rich environments scale, 37 percent of Canadians surveyed scored at the highest levels, above the OECD average of 34 percent. Within Canada, this held true for all provinces and territories, except Nunavut (11 percent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (29 percent). Other countries scoring above the OECD average included Sweden (44 percent), Netherlands (44 percent), Finland (42 percent), Norway (41 percent) and Australia (38 percent). Countries scoring below the OECD average included the United States (31 percent), Korea (30 percent) and Ireland (25 percent).

Figure 4A-1: Literacy — Comparative Distribution of Proficiency Levels of the Population Aged 16 to 65 Years, Countries, Provinces and Territories, 2012

Bar chart of literacy — Comparative distribution of proficiency levels of the population aged 16 to 65 years, countries, provinces and territories, 2012 (the long description is located below the image)

Sources: OECD, Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, 2012; and Statistics Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, Skills in Canada: First Results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), Catalogue no. 89-555-X, 2013.

Description of figure 4A-1

Figure 4A-2: Numeracy — Comparative Distribution of Proficiency Levels of the Population Aged 16 to 65 Years, Countries, Provinces and Territories, 2012

Bar chart of numeracy — Comparative distribution of proficiency levels of the population aged 16 to 65 years, countries, provinces and territories, 2012 (the long description is located below the image)

Sources: OECD, Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, 2012; and Statistics Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, Skills in Canada: First Results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), Catalogue no. 89-555-X, 2013.

Description of figure 4A-2

Figure 4A-3: Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments — Comparative Distribution of Proficiency Levels of the Population Aged 16 to 65 Years, Countries, Provinces and Territories, 2012

Bar chart of problem solving in technology-rich environments — Comparative distribution of proficiency levels of the population aged 16 to 65 years, countries, provinces and territories, 2012 (the long description is located below the image)

Sources: OECD, Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, 2012; and Statistics Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, Skills in Canada: First Results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), Catalogue no. 89-555-X, 2013.

Description of figure 4A-3

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

A more in-depth analysis of the PISA data reported in Chapter 4 shows that, among Canadian students, 21.9 percent attained the highest levels in one of the three assessment areas (reading, math and science) and can thus be called "top performers" in that area. Fewer (6.5 percent) are academic "all-rounders," students who achieve the highest proficiency in all three areas. With these results, Canada compares well with other countries. Eleven of 65 economies that participated in the PISA had more "top performers" than Canada (Shanghai-China, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong-China, Korea, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macao-China, Finland, Netherlands and Belgium). For each of these economies, except Japan, "top performers" were concentrated only in math. Eight economies (Shanghai-China, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong-China, Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Finland) had more "all-rounders" than Canada.

As indicated in Chapter 4, notable gender differences exist in student performance. Across OECD countries, girls outperform boys in reading by an average of 38 points; in Canada, the difference is 35 points. In science, girls outperform boys by one point across the OECD and by three points in Canada. Conversely, boys outperform girls in mathematics by 11 points across OECD countries and by 10 points in Canada.

Table 4A: Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012 (Math)
Math
Country 2009 Score (Rank) 2012 Score (Rank)
Shanghai-China 600 (1) 613 (1)
Singapore 562 (2) 573 (2)
Hong Kong-China 555 (3) 561 (3)
Chinese Taipei 543 (5) 560 (4)
Korea 546 (4) 554 (5)
Macao-China 525 (20) 538 (6)
Japan 529 (9) 536 (7)
Liechtenstein 536 (7) 535 (8)
Switzerland 534 (8) 531 (9)
Netherlands 526 (11) 523 (10)
Estonia 512 (16) 521 (11)
Finland 540 (6) 519 (12)
Canada 527 (10) 518 (13)
Poland 495 (24) 517 (14)
Belgium 515 (13) 515 (15)
Germany 513 (15) 514 (16)
Austria - 505 (17)
Australia 514 (14) 504 (18)
Ireland 487 (31) 502 (19)
Slovenia 501 (19) 501 (20)
Denmark 503 (18) 500 (21)
New Zealand 519 (12) 500 (22)
Iceland 507 (17) 493 (26)
United States 487 (30) 481 (35)

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do — Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science, Volume I, Revised Edition, February 2014.

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012 (Reading)
Reading
Country 2009 Score (Rank) 2012 Score (Rank)
Shanghai-China 556 (1) 570 (1)
Hong Kong-China 533 (4) 545 (2)
Singapore 526 (5) 542 (3)
Japan 520 (8) 538 (4)
Korea 539 (2) 536 (5)
Finland 536 (3) 524 (6)
Ireland 496 (21) 523 (7)
Canada 524 (6) 523 (8)
Chinese Taipei 495 (23) 523 (9)
Poland 500 (15) 518 (10)
Estonia 501 (13) 516 (11)
Liechtenstein 499 (18) 516 (12)
New Zealand 521 (7) 512 (13)
Australia 515 (9) 512 (14)
Netherlands 508 (10) 511 (15)
Belgium 506 (11) 509 (16)
Switzerland 500 (14) 509 (17)
Macao-China 487 (28) 509 (18)
Germany 497 (20) 508 (19)
France 496 (22) 505 (20)
Norway 503 (12) 504 (21)
United States 500 (17) 498 (23)
Sweden 497 (19) 483 (35)
Iceland 500 (16) 483 (36)

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do — Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science, Volume I, Revised Edition, February 2014.

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012 (Science)
Science
Country 2009 Score (Rank) 2012 Score (Rank)
Shanghai-China 575 (1) 580 (1)
Hong Kong-China 549 (3) 555 (2)
Singapore 542 (4) 551 (3)
Japan 539 (5) 547 (4)
Finland 554 (2) 545 (5)
Estonia 528 (9) 541 (6)
Korea 538 (6) 538 (7)
Poland 508 (19) 526 (8)
Canada 529 (8) 525 (9)
Liechtenstein 520 (13) 525 (10)
Germany 520 (12) 524 (11)
Chinese Taipei 520 (14) 523 (12)
Netherlands 522 (11) 522 (13)
Ireland 508 (20) 522 (14)
Australia 527 (10) 521 (15)
Macao-China 511 (18) 521 (16)
New Zealand 532 (7) 516 (17)
Switzerland 517 (15) 515(18)
Slovenia 512 (17) 514 (19)
United Kingdom 514 (16) 514 (20)
United States 502 (23) 497 (27)

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do — Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science, Volume I, Revised Edition, February 2014.