In the International Adult Literacy Survey, Canada ranked second in prose literacy, fifth in document literacy, and seventh (out of thirteen) in quantitative literacy. Sweden ranked highest in all three categories, while the Netherlands ranked second in prose and document literacy and third in quantitative literacy (where Germany was second).(14)
Within Canada, the measured skill levels for all forms of literacy were higher in Ontario and, especially, for the Western provinces, while the levels were lower in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.
In quantitative literacy, Alberta had the highest scores, with 65% at Levels 3, 4, and 5, and 35% at Levels 1 and 2. Internationally, this would put Alberta second (behind Sweden and ahead of Germany). Quebec had the lowest scores, with 40% at Levels 3, 4, and 5, and 60% at Levels 1 and 2. Internationally, this would put Quebec second from last (behind Ireland and ahead of Poland). (15)
In 1994-95, through the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, students in more than 40 countries in grades 3, 4, 7, 8 and the final year of secondary school were tested for mathematics and science knowledge related to their school curricula.(16)
In mathematics "literacy", for students in the final year of secondary school, Canada ranked 9th out of 21 countries, with a score that was higher than the international average (519 for Canada vs. an average of 500). Countries ranking higher than Canada were: the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, France, and New Zealand in that order.(17)
15 Calculated from data in the Highlights from the Second Report of IALS and Highlights from the Canadian Report.
16 In 1998-99, TIMSS was again administered to students in grade 8, but the results are not yet available.
17 TIMSS Highlights, on the Boston College Web site.
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