Proficiency in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments: comparing generations and age at arrival groups

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Executive Summary

Using information from the 2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), this report presents an overview of the proficiency in literacy, numeracy and problem-solving in technology-rich environments (PS-TRE) of the Canadian population by generation since immigration and by age at landing category for immigrants.

  • Among the four groups of immigrants who arrived in Canada at age of 0-5, 6-12, 13-18 and 19 years old and above, the general pattern is that the younger the age of arriving in Canada, the higher the average proficiency score in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. Except for the group arriving in Canada at a very young age (0-5), all other three groups underperform the third generation and above.
  • The second generation (born in Canada to at least one foreign born parent) and immigrants who came to Canada at a very young age (0-5) outperform the third generation and above (born in Canada to two Canadian-born parents). The higher proficiencies of these two groups are partly achieved by their overall higher educational attainment. After controlling for the effect of educational attainment, the differences in proficiencies between these two groups from the third generation and above diminish, but do not disappear.
  • In Canada, PIAAC proficiencies in literacy, numeracy and PS-TRE are assessed in either English or French, as chosen by the respondents. Respondents' performance in the tests of the three skills is influenced by their proficiency in the test language.
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