The grand promise of public education is to provide all students with an equal opportunity to learn and prepare themselves for work or future education regardless of their socio-economic conditions at home. In an immigrant society like Canada’s, this ambition is critically important to ensure that the children of immigrants have opportunities and life chances equal to the children of Canadian-born parents. Canadian education appears to be delivering on this promise, though there is room for improvement.
There is only a small difference between the overall reading scores of Canadian-born students who speak the language of the test (i.e., English or French) at home and the scores of Canadian-born second-generation students who do not speak the language of the test at home. While those who speak the test language at home achieved a score of 530, second-generation students who do not speak the language were close behind with a score of 517—a difference of less than 3 per cent.
The reading 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 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).