Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2016
Intergenerational Mobility in Education
E1 Insights from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
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.
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|
|Source: Tables E.1.1.1 and E.1.1.2|
- Canadians whose parents have higher levels of educational attainment scored higher than those whose parents are less educated, in both literacy and numeracy. This finding was observed in all provinces and territories, where estimates are available.
Data table for Chart E.1.2
Source: Table E.1.2
- Mobility between two generations from upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary education is particularly large in Canada, in relation to the OECD average and to other participating OECD countries. Mobility at this level in Canada is second largest among these countries, after Korea.
- Mobility between two generations from upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary education among provinces and territories is larger in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, at 50% and over.
Data table for Chart E.1.3
|Nvt.||Note F: too unreliable to be published||41|
F too unreliable to be published
Source: Table E.1.2
- In Canada and the OECD, intergenerational mobility from upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary is generally larger among women than among men. This is also the case in France, Italy, and the United States.
- The difference in mobility from upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary between women and men is larger in Canada than at the OECD average.
- In Canada, the largest differences in intergenerational mobility from upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary between women and men are found in Alberta, Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan, at over 20 percentage points.
Data table for Chart E.1.4
|Both parents are native-born (ref.)||Both parents are foreign-born|
|JPN||44||Note F: too unreliable to be published|
|ENGData table Note 2||42||51|
|N.L.||45||Note F: too unreliable to be published|
|P.E.I.||40||Note F: too unreliable to be published|
F too unreliable to be published
Source: Table E.1.3
- In Canada and New Zealand, intergenerational mobility from upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary is larger among those with foreign-born parents than among those with native-born parents. The reverse pattern is seen in the OECD countries on average, France, Germany, and Italy, where intergenerational mobility is smaller among those with foreign-born parents than among those with native-born parents.
- In Canada, intergenerational mobility among those with foreign-born parents is second largest among the OECD participating countries, after New Zealand.
- Within Canada, intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary to tertiary among those with an immigrant background is among the largest in New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories, at over 70%.
- In Alberta, no difference is observed in intergenerational mobility in education from upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary to tertiary among those with foreign-born and those with native-born parents. These differences are also not statistically significant in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Data table for Chart E.1.5
|Below upper secondary||Upper secondary/postsecondary non-tertiary||Tertiary|
|P.E.I.||Note F: too unreliable to be published||51||72|
|N.S.||Note F: too unreliable to be published||50||64|
|Man.||Note F: too unreliable to be published||43||64|
|Sask.||Note F: too unreliable to be published||54||66|
|B.C.||Note F: too unreliable to be published||42||63|
|Y.T.||Note F: too unreliable to be published||51||80|
F too unreliable to be published
Source: Table E.1.4
- In Canada, intergenerational perpetuation of tertiary education is higher than that of any other level of education.
- Canada is above the OECD average and many other PIAAC participating countries in intergenerational perpetuation of tertiary education.
- On the other end of the scale, intergenerational perpetuation of below upper secondary in Canada is lower than the OECD average, and lower than that of G7 countries except for Japan.
- In Canada, Alberta, Ontario, and Yukon are among the highest in intergenerational perpetuation rates at the tertiary level, at 75% and over.
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 is categorized by completion of educational programs defined by International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED-97)Note 1 levels, which are grouped as follows:
- Below upper secondary corresponds to ISCED levels 0, 1, 2 and 3C short programmes;
- Upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary corresponds to ISCED levels 3C long programmes, and levels 3B, 3A, and 4;
- Tertiary education corresponds to ISCED levels 5B, 5A, and 6.
An individual who has not successfully completed a programme is assigned the preceding education level.
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:
- below upper secondary means that both parents have attained ISCED-97 levels 0, 1, 2 or 3C short programmes;
- upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary means that at least one parent (either mother or father) has attained ISCED-97 levels 3A, 3B, 3C long programmes or level 4;
- tertiary means that at least one parent (either mother or father) has attained ISCED-97 levels 5A, 5B or 6.
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 refers to the situation in which both parents were born in the survey country.
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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