Provincial 

Education and Skills: Data Definitions and Sources

High-school attainment

2012 data (provinces), 2011 data (countries).

This indicator measures the percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with at least a high-school diploma.

Sources: OECD, Education at a Glance 2013 (Paris: OECD, 2013); Statistics Canada, CANSIM, Table 282-0004.

College attainment

2011 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 years that has attained tertiary-type B education. Tertiary-type B programs are typically shorter than those of tertiary-type A and focus on practical, technical, or occupational skills for direct entry into the labour market, although some theoretical foundations may be covered in the respective programs. They have a minimum duration of two years’ full-time equivalent at the tertiary level.

Sources: OECD, Education at a Glance 2013 (Paris: OECD, 2013); Statistics Canada, Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2013 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2014).

University attainment

2012 data (provinces), 2011 data (countries).

This indicator measures the percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 years that has attained tertiary-type A education and advanced research programs. Tertiary-type A programs are largely theory-based and are designed to provide sufficient qualifications for entry to advanced research programs and professions with high skill requirements, such as medicine, dentistry, or architecture. Tertiary-type A programs have a minimum cumulative theoretical duration (at tertiary level) of three years’ full-time equivalent, although they typically last four or more years. These programs are not offered exclusively at universities. Conversely, not all programs nationally recognized as university programs fulfill the criteria to be classified as tertiary-type A. Tertiary-type A programs include second degree programs such as the American master.

Sources: OECD, Education at a Glance 2013 (Paris: OECD, 2013); Statistics Canada, CANSIM, Table 282-0004.

PhD graduates

2011 data.

This indicator measures the number of advanced research degrees granted in a particular year per 100,000 population aged 25 to 39.

Sources: OECD.Stat.; Statistics Canada, CANSIM, Table 477-0020.

Graduates in science, math, computer science, and engineering

2011 data.

This indicator measures the number of science, math, computing, and engineering graduates from tertiary-type 5A and advanced research programs in a particular year per 100,000 population aged 20 to 39. Science graduates include graduates from the fields of life sciences and physical sciences.

Sources: OECD.Stat.; Statistics Canada, CANSIM, Table 477-0020.

Gender gap in tertiary attainment

2011 data.

This indicator measures the absolute value of the difference between the value of 1 and the value of the ratio of men to women with tertiary education to the ratio of men to women in the overall population. Tertiary education includes college and university education; it does not include trade and vocational programs. Tertiary education is a subset of post-secondary education, which includes all trade, vocational, college, and university programs.

Source: OECD, Education at a Glance 2013 (Paris: OECD, 2013).

International students

2010 data (provinces), 2011 data (countries).

This indicator measures the percentage of international students in tertiary education. Tertiary education includes college and university education; it does not include trade and vocational programs. Tertiary education is a subset of post-secondary education, which includes all trade, vocational, college, and university programs.

Source: OECD, Education at a Glance 2013 (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Resilient students

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of students in the bottom quarter of socio-economic status in their country who score in the top 25 per cent on numeracy across all countries, after controlling for their country’s socio-economic status. The numeracy test used for this report card is from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international assessment of the skills and knowledge of 15 year olds, coordinated by the OECD.

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Income advantage for college graduates

2012 data.

This indicator measures the relative income (i.e., salary and wage) difference between a college graduate and a high-school graduate.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey (custom tabulation).

Income advantage for university graduates

2012 data.

This indicator measures the relative income (i.e., salary and wage) difference between a person with a university bachelor’s degree and a high-school graduate.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey (custom tabulation).

Equity in learning outcomes

2012 data.

This indicator measures the absolute value of the gap in scores between native-born students and immigrant students on the math section of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, an international assessment of the skills and knowledge of 15 year olds, coordinated by the OECD.

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Students with high-level reading skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of 15-year-old students at level 5 or 6 proficiency on PISA’s reading scale. Student scores in reading are grouped into seven proficiency levels, with level 6 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1b the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Students with inadequate reading skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of 15-year-old students at level 2 proficiency or below on the reading section of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test. Student scores in reading are grouped into seven proficiency levels, with level 6 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1b the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Students with high-level math skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of 15-year-old students at levels 5 or 6 proficiency on PISA’s mathematics scale. Student scores in mathematics are grouped into six proficiency levels, with level 6 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Students with inadequate math skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of 15-year-old students at level 2 proficiency or below on PISA’s mathematics scale. Student scores in mathematics are grouped into six proficiency levels, with level 6 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Students with high-level science skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of 15-year-old students at levels 5 or 6 proficiency on PISA’s science scale. Student scores in science are grouped into six proficiency levels, with level 6 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Students with inadequate science skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of 15-year-old students at level 2 proficiency or below on PISA’s science scale. Student scores in science are grouped into six proficiency levels, with level 6 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Paris: OECD, 2013).

Adults with high-level literacy skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of adults scoring at level 4 or 5 on the literacy test of the Survey of Adults Skills, a product of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). For two peer countries—Belgium and the U.K.—data were collected in sub-national regions only. Literacy in this survey focuses on reading ability—the extent to which individuals can understand, assess, use, and engage with written texts. Adult scores in literacy are grouped into 5 proficiency levels, with level 5 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

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

Adults with inadequate literacy skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of adults scoring at level 2 or below on the literacy test of the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Literacy in this survey focuses on reading ability—the extent to which individuals can understand, assess, use, and engage with written texts. Adult scores in literacy are grouped into 5 proficiency levels, with level 5 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

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

Adults with high-level numeracy skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of adults scoring at levels 4 or 5 proficiency on the numeracy test of the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills, which is part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Numeracy is the ability to access, use, interpret, and communicate both mathematical information and ideas. The test assesses adults’ ability to manage the mathematical demands placed on them in a variety of situations. Adult scores in numeracy are grouped into 5 proficiency levels, with level 5 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

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

Adults with inadequate numeracy skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of adults scoring below level 3 on the numeracy test of the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills, which is part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Numeracy is the ability to access, use, interpret, and communicate both mathematical information and ideas. The test assesses adults’ ability to manage the mathematical demands placed on them in a variety of situations. Adult scores in numeracy are grouped into 5 proficiency levels, with level 5 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

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

Adults with high-level problem-solving skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of adults at level 3 on the problem-solving in technology-rich environments test of the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills, which is part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Problem-solving in technology-rich environments refers to adults’ ability to use digital technology, communication tools, and networks to obtain and evaluate information, perform practical tasks, and communicate with others. The test focuses on adults’ ability to solve problems in personal, work, and civic purposes. Adult scores in problem-solving are grouped into 3 proficiency levels, with level 3 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

Source: OECD, OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results From the Survey of Adult Skills (Paris: OECD, 2013); Statistics Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and Council of Ministers of Education Canada, Skills in Canada—First Results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Catalogue no. 89-555-X (Toronto: Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, 2013).

Adults with inadequate problem-solving skills

2012 data.

This indicator measures the percentage of adults scoring below level 2 on the problem-solving in technology-rich environments test of the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills, a product the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Participants who failed the prerequisite test of basic computer skills and those who self-reported as having no computer skills are also included in this measure of adults with inadequate problem-solving skills. Problem-solving in technology-rich environments refers to adults’ ability to use digital technology, communication tools, and networks to obtain and evaluate information, perform practical tasks, and communicate with others. The test focuses on adults’ ability to solve problems for personal, work, and civic purposes. Adult scores in problem-solving are grouped into 3 proficiency levels, with level 3 representing the highest scores (and hence the most difficult tasks) and level 1 the lowest scores (and hence the easiest tasks).

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