Recently released PISA scores, which measure education levels in math, science, and reading, showed that Saskatchewan was ranked amongst the lowest in the country. The school board in the southeast says these scores don't tell the whole story.
Aaron Hiske, Deputy Director of South East Cornerstone Public School Division, says that scores from PISA don’t give an accurate depiction of what students are learning in classrooms.
“It’s assembling of our 15-year-old across the country,” said Hiske. “That’s one of the limits of the study."
The division screens student's math and reading levels three times a year from kindergarten through Grade 9. While PISA testing only happens once a year.
Hiske said they take the screening results compared to the curriculum and adjust as needed. For example, if a class is having trouble adding two-digit numbers, the teacher has the data to focus on that area.
“We use screens more frequently,” said Hiske. “I think it’s important to know that is a standardized assessment and a snapshot in time.”
Hiske has worked on the provincial education plan as part of the assessment priority area. He said the PISA scores will be discussed at the next face-to-face assessment meeting in April.
“The PISA and PCAP results are sets of information we look at when we’re designing our interventions for the province.”
PISA scores are at a provincial level and not separated by area.
“It's hard to pull your pieces out of there as a school to use them,” said Hiske.
COVID-19 may have had a lasting impact on learning outcomes.
“Since the pandemic, we’ve been struggling a little bit with attendance, and making sure we get those high attendance numbers,” said Hiske.
The school division is working to improve attendance records across the board.
“Making sure we’re getting those students contact time,” said Hiske. “And working together to improve student outcomes."
Hiske noted that digital learning is going to be an added outcome tested in the 2025 PISA tests.
“I’m very excited to see how our students do on that particular assessment,” said Hiske.
Find out what the Saskatchewan Government and the Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation said about PISA scores here.