Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2016
Chapter E
Intergenerational Mobility in Education

E1 Insights from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)

Context

This indicator is based on data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), a household study conducted under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In Education at a Glance 2016: OECD Indicators and other OECD publications, PIAAC is referred to as the “Survey of Adult Skills.”

PIAAC’s aim was to assess key cognitive and workplace skills needed for successful participation in 21st-Century society and the global economy.  The study measured cognitive skills in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving in technology-rich environments.  It also included an extensive background questionnaire that provides information about a number of other skills and personal traits that are important to success.

This indicator draws on data from PIAAC to analyse intergenerational mobility in education as well as skills by parental educational attainment.

Observations

Chart E.1.1 Comparative distributions of literacy and numeracy proficiency levels of 25- to 64-year-old non-students, by highest level of parental educational attainment, Canada, 2012

Data table for Chart E.1.1
Data table for Chart E.1.1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart E.1.1 Parents with below upper secondary education, Parent(s) with upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary education, Parent(s) with tertiary education, Literacy and Numeracy, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Parents with below upper secondary education Parent(s) with upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary education Parent(s) with tertiary education
Literacy Numeracy Literacy Numeracy Literacy Numeracy
percent
Level 0/1 28 35 15 21 9 13
Level 2 38 35 32 32 26 28
Level 3 29 24 39 34 43 39
Level 4/5 6 5 14 12 23 20

Chart E.1.2 Percentage of intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary of 25- to 44-year-old non-students, Canada, provinces and territories, OECD and selected countries, 2012

Data table for Chart E.1.2
Data table for Chart E.1.2 Percentage of intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary of 25- to 44-year-old non-students, Canada, provinces and territories, OECD and selected countries, 2012Data table Note 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart E.1.2 percent (appearing as column headers).
  percent
DEU 26
ITA 32
USA 35
FRA 41
JPN 44
ENG 44
KOR 60
OECD 39
CAN 52
N.L. 45
P.E.I. 44
N.S. 42
N.B. 39
Que. 53
Ont. 57
Man. 48
Sask. 34
Alta. 47
B.C. 50
N.W.T. 35
Nvt. 35

Chart E.1.3 Percentage of intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary of 25- to 44-year-old non-students, by gender, Canada, provinces and territories, OECD and selected countries, 2012

Data table for Chart E.1.3
Data table for Chart E.1.3 Percentage of intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary of 25- to 44-year-old non-students, by gender, Canada, provinces and territories, OECD and selected countries, 2012Data table Note 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart E.1.3 Men (ref.) and Women, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Men (ref.) Women
percent
ITA 23 42Note *
DEU 28 24
USA 29 40Note *
FRA 32 49Note *
ENG 42 47
JPN 44 44
KOR 60 59
OECD 34 44Note *
CAN 45 59Note *
N.L. 43 47
P.E.I. 33 57Note *
N.S. 51 36
N.B. 34 45
Que. 45 60Note *
Ont. 51 64Note *
Man. 47 48
Sask. 22 47Note *
Alta. 34 63Note *
B.C. 44 56
N.W.T. 25 46Note *
Nvt. Note F: too unreliable to be published 41

Chart E.1.4 Percentage of intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary/post-secondary non-tertiary to tertiary of 25- to 44-year-old non-students, by native-born and foreign-born parents, Canada, provinces and territories, OECD and selected countries, 2012/2015

Data table for Chart E.1.4
Data table for Chart E.1.4 Percentage of intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary/post-secondary non-tertiary to tertiary of 25- to 44-year-old non-students, by native-born and foreign-born parents, Canada, provinces and territories, OECD and selected countries, 2012/2015Data table Note 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart E.1.4 Both parents are native-born (ref.) and Both parents are foreign-born, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Both parents are native-born (ref.) Both parents are foreign-born
percent
DEU 27 18Note *
ITA 34 7Note *
FRA 42 27Note *
JPN 44 Note F: too unreliable to be published
AUS 33 41
USA 33 42
ENGData table Note 2 42 51
NZL 42 67Note *
OECD 39 36Note *
CAN 46 63Note *
N.L. 45 Note F: too unreliable to be published
P.E.I. 40 Note F: too unreliable to be published
N.S. 39 69Note *
N.B. 37 76Note *
Que. 50 66Note *
Ont. 48 64Note *
Man. 42 63
Sask. 32 54
Alta. 49 49
B.C. 40 63Note *
N.W.T. 29 74Note *

Chart E.1.5 Percentage of intergenerational perpetuation of educational attainment of 25- to 44-year-old non-students, countries, provinces and territories, 2012

Data table for Chart E.1.5
Data table for Chart E.1.5 Percentage of intergenerational perpetuation of educational attainment of 25- to 44-year-old non-students, Canada, provinces and territories, OECD and selected countries, 2012Data table Note 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart E.1.5 Below upper secondary, Upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary and Tertiary, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Below upper secondary Upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary Tertiary
percent
DEU 39 66 57
USA 34 58 62
ITA 54 55 65
JPN 15 48 75
FRA 26 51 76
ENG 35 40 77
OECD 30 50 68
CAN 20 41 73
N.L. 23 49 65
P.E.I. Note F: too unreliable to be published 51 72
N.S. Note F: too unreliable to be published 50 64
N.B. 19 58 54
Que. 20 39 71
Ont. 18 38 78
Man. Note F: too unreliable to be published 43 64
Sask. Note F: too unreliable to be published 54 66
Alta. 28 46 75
B.C. Note F: too unreliable to be published 42 63
Y.T. Note F: too unreliable to be published 51 80
N.W.T. 52 50 65
Nvt. 56 36 67

Definitions, sources and methodology

Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)

In Canada, PIAAC was conducted by Statistics Canada and made possible by the joint effort of the ministers of education of the provinces and territories, through the Council of Ministers of Education (Canada), and the Government of Canada, led by Employment and Skills Development Canada.  The data collection took place from November 2011 to June 2012.  The sample size for Canada was exceptionally large, at 27,285 individuals.  This size was necessary to permit statistically reliable results at the provincial and territorial levels, as well as for certain populations within these jurisdictions.

For this report, tables based on PIAAC data have been organized into a single indicator, E1.  The tables and charts represent a selection of results from PIAAC that are included in Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators and Education at a Glance 2016: OECD Indicators. Not all EAG tables have been reproduced.

PIAAC results included in Education at a Glance 2016: OECD Indicators are based on data from Round I (2012) and Round II (2015) countries. Round I OECD countries participating in PIAAC include Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England (UK), Estonia, Finland, Flanders (Belgium), France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Northern Ireland (UK), Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, and United States. Round II OECD countries participating in PIAAC include Chile, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, Slovenia, and Turkey. For this reason, the composition of the OECD average in PIAAC has changed from earlier publications of Education at a Glance and Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective.

For definitions and background information about PIAAC in Canada, please refer to Skills in Canada: First Results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) or visit the PIAAC Web site.

This indicator measures skills by parental educational attainment, intergenerational perpetuation of educational attainment, and intergenerational mobility from upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary education by parental background and respondent’s gender.

For some data analysis, the sample is small, explaining why standard errors are slightly higher than usual. Data should, therefore, be interpreted with caution.

Data from individual Group of 7 (G7) countries have been added to facilitate comparative analysis between Canada and its provinces and territories, the OECD average, and other major advanced economies. Data from other countries have been added to certain charts and tables when deemed appropriate.  

To capture challenges facing education systems in relation to young adults, the analysis examines non-student adults aged between 25 and 64 (in most instances the age range is restricted to 25 to 44 year-olds), and their parents. Intergenerational mobility in education may not be the same for those with one foreign-born parent as for those whose parents are both foreign-born. However, due to the small number of observations of such cases, this analysis focuses on comparing people whose parents are both native-born with those whose parents are both foreign-born.

Educational attainment:
Educational attainment is categorized by completion of educational programs defined by International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED-97)Note 1 levels, which are grouped as follows:

An individual who has not successfully completed a programme is assigned the preceding education level.

Non-student:
Non-student refers to an individual who was not enrolled as a student at the time of the survey. For example, “non-students who completed tertiary education” refers to individuals who had completed tertiary education and were not students when the survey was conducted.

Parents’ educational attainment:

Intergenerational mobility in education:

Intergenerational mobility in education refers to the situation in which children attain a different level of education from that of either one or both parents. Intergenerational mobility can mean attaining a level of education that is either higher or lower than the level attained by the parent(s). For example, intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary to tertiary refers to the situation in which the highest educational attainment of parent(s) is upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary (i.e.­ either one parent or both parents have this level of education) and children have tertiary education.

Intergenerational perpetuation of educational attainment:
Intergenerational perpetuation refers to the situation in which children attain the same level of education as the highest level attained by one or both parents.   

Native-born parents:
Native-born parents refers to the situation in which both parents were born in the survey country.

Foreign-born parents:          
Foreign-born parents refers to the situation in which both parents were born outside the survey country.            

Tables for E1 Insights from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)

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