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Focusing on narrow PISA measures may increase skill levels but cause students to miss out on the kinds of learning that generates higher-order thinking. (Shutterstock)

Problems with PISA: Why Canadians should be skeptical of the global test

There are many reasons to be skeptical about PISA rankings, and their use to compare student achievement or to identify best practices or solutions for educational problems.
The big spending provinces in Canada did not necessarily get the best Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) standardized test results. (Shutterstock)

Canadian schools spend more as enrolment and test scores fall

Research shows that the provinces vary widely in their ability to produce academic results for money they spend, and PEI shows the most efficient results.
Policies that cut school expenditures under the premise of “doing more with less” can also contribute to a decrease in high school graduation rates that could easily cancel out those savings. Shutterstock

High school dropouts cost countries a staggering amount of money

While the purpose of education can't be reduced to promoting economic growth, every child out of school represents both lost opportunities — and huge economic costs — for countries.
Policy-makers must remember that the social consequences of a test are just as important as the test’s content. (Shutterstock)

New global testing standards will force countries to revisit academic rankings

The stakes could be highest for students around the world as education systems decide how to respond to the changing shape of global standardized testing.
Former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Stephane Roy leaves a Quebec courtroom after fraud and bribery charges against him were thrown out due to trial delays. Roy had been charged with bribing a foreign public official in connection with the company’s dealings with Libya. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

SNC-Lavalin case shows why we should review Canada’s foreign corruption laws

Until recently, paying a bribe or kickback to secure a contract abroad was seen as the cost of doing business in a foreign land. The SNC-Lavalin case has underscored the need to rethink the approach.
The solar boom continues, but not necessarily because of government policy settings. AAP Image/UNSW

Australia is counting on cooking the books to meet its climate targets

Australia's government insists it is on track to surpass its emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement. But while that may be true, it will only happen with some clever accounting.
The latest figures put Australia near the top when it comes to company tax collections, even though our total tax take isn’t particularly high. OECD

New figures put it beyond doubt. When it comes to company tax, we are a high-tax country, in part because it works well for us

On one measure our company tax rate is the third-highest, but we like it that way because it allows us to give big tax refunds to local shareholders, many of them retirees.
Boys typically read less frequently and perform worse on national and international reading assessments than girls. www.shutterstock.com

Six things you can do to get boys reading more

Girls are encouraged more often to read, despite performing better in reading assessments nationally and internationally. Here's how parents and educators can help connect boys with books.
A low sense of belonging is associated with negative behaviours including misbehaviour, drug and alcohol use at school, violence and dropping out of school. Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Teachers play a key role in helping students feel they ‘belong’ at school

When students feel accepted and respected by their teachers and peers, they will actively engage in academic and non-academic activities.
Both first- and second-generation immigrants in British Columbia and Ontario outperformed their non-immigrant counterparts in science literacy, in the 2015 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Programme for International Student Assessment. (Shutterstock)

The secrets of immigrant student success

First and second-generation immigrants perform well in many Canadian provinces that take an "accommodation" approach.

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