Percent of students at level 4 or above for combined reading sources, 2009

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a tool that seeks to measure the extent to which youth at age 15 have acquired some of the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies. “Sixty-five countries and economies participated in PISA 2009, including all 33 OECD* countries. Between 5,000 and 10,000 students aged 15 years from at least 150 schools were typically tested in each country. In Canada, approximately 23,000 15-year-olds from about 1,000 schools participated across the 10 provinces.”1

Overall, Canadian students continue to perform well compared with students in most other countries. On the higher end of the reading scale, students proficient at Level 4 or above have acquired the level of literacy that is required to participate effectively and productively in life and are also capable of the moderately difficult reading tasks in PISA 2009.2Forty percent of Canadian students achieved Level 4 or above, compared to the OECD average of 29%.

* OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) is an organization that acts as a meeting ground for 30 countries that believe strongly in the free market system.

1Statistics Canada. “The Performance of Canada’s Youth in Reading, Mathematics and Science.” Available at: -Accessed on June 29, 2012. 

2OECD. (2010). “Volume 5: Learning Curves, From PISA 2000 to PISA 2009.” Paris: OECD.