Media Release

Public education in Alberta continues world-class standing

Kids at a table with a map in that background

Alberta’s public education system ranks second in the world in reading and science and seventh in the world in math, according to international testing results released this morning.

“Alberta’s teachers and students should be very proud of these results. We remain the envy of the world when it comes to our outstanding achievement results. Across the board, Singapore is the only jurisdiction in the world with stronger results than Alberta.”

—Jason Schilling, ATA president

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) measures the achievement of randomly selected 15-year-olds in 81 participating countries and economies around the world. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) typically administers PISA tests every three years, in mathematics, reading and science.

Because education is provincially administered in Canada, PISA results break down performance by each province. The results place Alberta at the top of the country in all three areas, which Schilling says is remarkable given previously released Statistics Canada data that shows Alberta has the lowest per student spending and staffing levels in the country.

“While we continue to achieve at the top of the country, we must be careful, as our spending and staffing levels in Alberta are at the very bottom. These results reflect the extraordinary efforts of teachers to keep the education system running and to deliver the results that Albertans have come to expect—but they are not sustainable in the current conditions.”

—Jason Schilling, ATA president

Schilling is also concerned about the potential effects of recent changes to the mathematics curriculum, which would not have impacted the students writing this assessment. New mathematics curriculum that emphasizes more rote memorization and basic calculation skills was introduced to students in K–3 last year and Grades 4–6 this year.

“Teachers continue to report that students are struggling with the approach of this new curriculum. To prepare students best for an uncertain future, we need to focus on computational thinking, mathematical reasoning and problem solving, not rote memorization. The rest of the world is headed in this direction, and if we want to maintain our standing, we must reconsider the recent curriculum changes.”

—Jason Schilling, ATA president

Although the results are a testament to the hard work of teachers to produce impressive results with limited resources, benchmark testing provides a limited snapshot of what is actually happening in Alberta’s classrooms. Schilling notes that schools accomplish significantly more than what these tests measure.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, supports teachers’ professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members.

Canadian results on the PISA 2022 test can be downloaded at

For more information, or to arrange an interview with ATA president Jason Schilling, contact Mark Milne at 780-905-0014.