In the spring of 2007, CMEC administered the first PCAP test, to a random sample of schools and students with random assignment of booklets, all representative of the Canadian cohort of 13-year-olds in all 10 provinces and Yukon.  Approximately 30,000 thirteen-year-olds wrote the assessment:

  • 15,000 wrote the reading component in English
  • 5,000 wrote the reading component in French
  • 7,500 wrote mathematics and science in English
  • 2,500 wrote mathematics and science in French


The report, PCAP-13 2007: Report on the Assessment on 13-Year-Olds in Reading, Mathematics, and Science, was made public on February 26, 2010. As this was the first PCAP, CMEC coordinated the assessment design, including a review of contemporary research and the curricula from all jurisdictions in each subject area for the age group.  Bilingual writing and item development teams, in consultation with the jurisdictions and subject experts developed the framework and items for the assessment; the process included a validation process and field testing.

The results for PCAP reading are described over three levels representing a continuum of knowledge and skills acquired by students over their entire elementary and secondary school experience. Level 2 is the acceptable level of performance for 13-year-olds while Level 1 represents the performance of students achieving at a level below that expected of students in their age group. Level 3, then, represents a higher achievement than that expected of students within their age group.

CMEC provides PCAP results on both pan-Canadian and jurisdictional levels for all 11 participating provinces and territories.

Reading was the main emphasis of the 2007 PCAP. Significant results include the following:

  • Overall, 88 per cent of all students across Canada performed in reading at level 2 or above, the expected level for the age group.
  • The mean scores for students in Quebec is significantly higher than that of Canadian students overall while the mean scores for students in Ontario is not significantly different.
  • Female students achieved a mean score in reading that was significantly higher than that of male students.
  • The proportion of female students performing at level 3 in reading is higher than that of male students.
  • In the mathematics and science assessments, there are no significant differences between the mean scores achieved by male students and those of female students.