Mind the Gaps: Examining Youth’s Reading, Math and Science Skills Across Northern and Rural Canada
Authors: Cathlene Hillier, David Zarifa, and Darcy Hango
A new body of sociological research is finding that northern and rural youth, and in particular, low-SES youth, face difficulties accessing higher levels of postsecondary education and lucrative fields of study such as the STEMs. However, existing research has yet to systematically measure the skills proficiencies of youth in these regions nor have we understood the factors which might account for regional differences. We draw on multiple cycles of Statistics Canada’s Youth in Transition Survey, Cohort A linked to the Programme for International Student Assessment scores to investigate how location of residence impacts skills proficiencies at age 15 in math, science, and reading outcomes. Overall, our results point to three key findings. First, southern youth outperform northern youth in mathematics skills. Second, we uncover a southern (both urban and rural) and northern urban advantage in reading proficiencies. Third, in science literacy, southern and northern urban youth experience significant advantages over youth from northern rural locations. While some of the skills differences are attributable to parenting styles, parental socioeconomic status, student academics, and province of residence, they are not completely attenuated by these factors. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for future research and public policy.
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David, Jean-Denis (2023).
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Hillier, Cathlene, Zarifa, David, and Hango, Darcy (2022).
Mind the Gaps: Examining Youth's Reading, Math and Science Skills Across Northern and Rural Canada*
Rural Sociology , 264-302
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