Friday, November 30, 2007

Our 15 year olds rank well globally in science skills.

This is quite an impressive jump from 11th to 3rd. The US does not seem to doing very well at all at 29th. I did not think that there would be such a difference. Years ago we always thought the UK had a better educational system than ours but perhaps it has fallen down over the years since its rating is just 14th. However, this is just one test of one group so who knows how things are overall. It is unfortunate that not more students go on to graduate in the sciences from universities. Of course I should talk I went through liberal arts and on to graduate philosophy!

Canadian students move up in rankings
Janice Tibbetts , CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, November 30, 2007
OTTAWA - Canadian students are on a roll in their academic performance on the world stage, this time ranking third in an international test of science ability that compared 15-year-olds in 57 countries.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reported Thursday that Canadian pupils were outscored only by Finland and Hong Kong in an assessment of how much they know about science and their ability to use scientific knowledge and understanding to solve problems.

The results show "a bit of a disconnect" in that young Canadians appear to excel in science, yet Canada is failing to keep pace with other developed countries in turning out science graduates from university, said Paul Cappon, president of the Canadian Council on Learning.

"Science literacy at age 15 does not guarantee what choices these children are going to make later in life," said Cappon. "What is happening is there is a certain fear of going into the disciplines of science and technology that are considered to be more difficult than others. If we could take this test as encouragement that Canadians can do science, that would be a good signal."

The scientific ability of 28,000 Canadian 15-year-olds was measured in 2006, the third time that the Program for International Student Assessment was administered to more than 400,000 students internationally.

Canadian students moved up handily from the last time they were tested in 2003, when they landed in 11th place in science. Many European countries, on the other hand, have slipped in the ranks.

Canadian students outscored their counterparts in the United States, who placed 29th, and England, who ranked 14th.

The two-hour written test measures science, math and reading skills, although its focus shifts each time. The 2006 results were scheduled to be made public next week, but the OECD released an abbreviated version of the science portion Thursday, following a leak of the findings in Spain.

The full report, to be publicized Tuesday, will include results for each province, a breakdown of the scores of girls and boys, and the rankings for reading and math.

It is the second time this week that Canadians have received top marks in international testing. A separate global study Wednesday from the International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement showed that Grade 4 students in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are among the best readers in the world, when compared to students in 40 countries.

"One after another, Canadian children are doing well," said Cappon. "Obviously, it's encouraging they are performing at an international level."

No comments: