Math Education in British Columbia

math education in british columbia

PISA results from 2003 to 2018 show a steady decline in Canada’s math scores. Compared to its fifth place among 37 participating countries in 2003, Canada came out with a twelfth place among 78 participating countries in the most recent 2018 assessment. The PISA scores also declined in every Canadian province over the fifteen-year period. Declines were the steepest in Manitoba, Alberta and especially British Columbia, with the least severe in Prince Edward Island and Ontario. One of the main reasons for such decline lies within the different math curriculums.


British Columbia’s New Curriculum

Since 2013, British Columbia has launched a new curriculum, focusing on three themes: core competencies, essential learning, and literacy and numeracy foundations. BC has identified communication, thinking, and personal and social competency as the three core competencies that are essential for future success beyond school. The new curriculum redesigned the key subject content, concepts, skills and big ideas that would foster higher-order thinking demanded in today’s world. With the new curriculum, BC students are expected to apply math in a variety of contexts using different forms of communications.


Additionally, the new BC curriculum is developed by three elements: the content (know), curricular competencies (do), and big ideas (understand) – to support deeper learning. With the detailed, essential topics and knowledge learned at each grade level (know), as well as the skills, strategies and processes developed over time (do), students are able to generalize and elaborate their learnings.

british columbia curriculum model

(Source: Curriculum Model, from BC’s Curriculum)


BC Public School Districts’ Education System Performance

Within the 60 BC public school districts, there are approximately 1,600 public schools. Each region and school district offers its own unique set of professional, recreational, and lifestyle advantages. 72% of Grades 4 and 7 students had participated in the 2019/2020 Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA). Out of those who met expectations in their Grade 4, only 9% exceeded their results in Grade 7. 40% of students scored at proficient or extending levels on the numeracy graduation assessment.


Moreover, the series of survey questions conducted in the report showed a low students’ satisfaction with the BC public school districts’ education system. 27% of elementary students and 29% of secondary students were satisfied with what they were learning at school. 39% of Grade 10 students and 37% of Grade 10 students were satisfied that school is preparing them for post-secondary education; 29% of Grade 10 students and 22% of Grade 12 students were satisfied that school is preparing them for a job in the future. For more information on other BC school districts’ performance, visit


Correlation Between Math Education and Other Subjects

Mathematics is a fundamental part of human thought, logic, and life skills. In addition, math knowledge plays a crucial role in understanding the contents of other school subjects such as science, physics, and even arts. From understanding chemical reactions in science, to finding the symmetry in arts, math skills are intertwined with other school subjects. Having a solid math education can affect a student’s overall educational performance.


While the goals of the new BC curriculum were to build foundational knowledge and develop learning skills and strategies, the result of the public school districts’ performance did not reflect the same. On the other hand, specialized math tutoring programs can provide students with an opportunity to close the math gaps and build life skills.


At Math Project, students are provided with customized learning plans tailored to their current math level. These customized study plans will ensure students to progress at their own pace through Math Project’s curriculum while developing their confidence in math and strengthening their math skills. Contact us at 1-844-628-4243 to book a free assessment. For more information on Math Project’s specialized curriculum, and math programs Canada, Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville, visit our website at

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Math Performance in Canada –
Curriculum Overview –
BC Public School Districts –
Foundation Skills Assessment –
Graduation Assessments –
Student Satisfaction –
Post-Secondary and Career Preparation –
The role of mathematics in the overall curriculum –
Correlation of Mathematics with Other Subjects –

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