12/11/2012 02:03 EST | Updated 12/11/2012 02:19 EST

Alberta Science Students Rank Among The Highest In The World


Maybe this is why Alberta can extract bitumen from the frozen tundra but has problems balancing budgets.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 numbers released by Alberta Education on Tuesday show Alberta students' science scores easily outperformed students in all other provinces, putting them in the top seven in the world, behind countries like Japan, China and Korea.

In math, however, Alberta students achieved an average international ranking but finished third in the country behind Ontario and Quebec, TIMSS numbers show. Both Quebec and Ontario finished top 10 in the world, a bracket Alberta missed in the latest set of numbers.


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Those numbers also show a growing gap between Alberta and those countries that scored highest in math, something that is not lost on the province, said Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson.

“The performance of Alberta students has remained relatively consistent in science and math, but the fact that other jurisdictions are becoming more competitive highlights the need to continue with our shift towards the vision of Inspiring Education,” said Johnson.

“These results clearly show that we need to have a relentless focus on literacy as a foundation to our curriculum and learning objectives as we move forward."

The latest TIMSS results also show that Alberta students have some of the smallest gender differences in achievement in the world and some of the highest student access to school computers.

Approximately 4,000 Alberta Grade 4 and 8 students participated in the TIMSS, with another 4,000 Grade 4 Alberta students participating in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study.