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July 30, 2020

Schools Face Three Nettlesome Challenges Beyond COVID

  • Author John Richards looks at data from OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and finds declining scores in core subjects and wide gaps in achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged students. The OECD’s PISA has become a universally respected means to assess student outcomes in reading, mathematics, and science in national school systems at the upper secondary level among students age 15.
  • “The most troubling PISA trends are in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the two provinces with the largest average subject declines from the benchmarking year to 2018,” says Richards. With the exception of Quebec, declines in mathematics have been statistically significant in all provinces. 
  • To reduce gaps in outcomes, Richards calls on provinces to target low-income and disadvantaged communities through pre-school education and programs that provide intense tutoring and mentoring among secondary-school students.
John Richards
John Richards

Roger Phillips Scholar of Social Policy, C.D. Howe Institute