Research Group on Human Capital - Working Paper Series No. 20-04
In this article, we document the evolution of the cognitive skills gap across Canada. We use PISA tests scores over 7 cycles, from 2000 to 2018, to provide an exhaustive portrait of the evolution of the tests scores distribution over time and by parental socioeconomic status. We find that the achievement gap between top performing students (p90) and students facing challenges (p10) is large. It represents about 4 years of schooling. We also show that socioeconomic differences in PISA scores, in reading, maths and science, are large but unwavering. In other words inequality by SES is stable, and decreasing in some years. There are wide-ranging variations in the size of the SES score gaps by provinces, a proxy for the extent of inequality of opportunities.
socioeconomic inequalities PISA literacy and numeracy skills proficiency scales provincial education policy education attainment gradient Canadian provinces