Just the Facts
Students, teachers and academic performance

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Release date: September 7, 2018

The most recent count of elementary and secondary students in Canada put the total at just over 5 million students in 2015/2016.  This continues a slight upward trend seen since 2011/2012, which mirrors the increase of the school-aged population.

For the same time period, there were 315,114 full-time educators employed in the public elementary-secondary system.

Over time, the age profile of these educators has been changing, reflecting the general aging of the labour force.  The proportion of full-time educators who were less than 30 years old dropped from 13% in 2006/2007 to just over 8% in 2015/2016.

Chart 1

Data table for Chart 1 
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Academic year (appearing as row headers), Percent (appearing as column headers).
Academic year Percent
2006/2007 13.3
2007/2008 12.8
2008/2009 12.2
2009/2010 11.3
2010/2011 10.5
2011/2012 9.8
2012/2013 9.4
2013/2014 9.1
2014/2015 8.9
2015/2016 8.6

The average score for student performance in reading, as measured by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was very similar in 2003 and 2015 both at the OECD average, and for Canadian students.  However, for both the OECD and Canada, the average student score in math dropped between 2003 and 2015.  In both reading and mathematics, the Canadian average was above the OECD average in both time periods.

Chart 2

Data table for Chart 2 
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2 2003 and 2015, calculated using estimated average score
units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2003 2015
estimated average score
OECD Reading 494 493
OECD Mathematics 499 490
Canada Reading 528 527
Canada Mathematics 532 516

PISA results can also be presented as the distribution of student performance across levels of proficiency.  These levels range from the lowest, level 1 to the highest, level 6.  According to the OECD, level 2 can be considered a baseline of proficiency, at which students begin to demonstrate competencies that enable them to participate effectively and productively in life.  In 2015, 69% of 15-year-old Canadian students exceeded this minimum proficiency level in science.  This compares with the OECD average of 54%.  Across the country, in all provinces, the majority of students exceeded the minimum proficiency level, with students in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec having the highest proportion of these students.

Chart 3

Data table for Chart 3 
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3 percent (appearing as column headers).
British Columbia 72.7
Alberta 73.4
Saskatchewan 54.7
Manitoba 57.4
Ontario 67.0
Quebec 73.5
New Brunswick 60.1
Nova Scotia 64.9
Prince Edward Island 64.8
Newfoundland and Labrador 60.3
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - average 54.0
Canada 68.8
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