Students will spend more time on literacy and math in the classroom and less time writing standardized tests under the province's new plan for education.

The action plan also calls for a stronger system of evaluating teachers and asks the auditor general to investigate the efficiency of school boards.

The changes were announced Thursday as Education Minister Karen Casey delivered her response to the report of the Minister's Panel on Education.

The panel, chaired by former teacher and lieutenant-governor Myra Freeman, was tasked nearly a year ago with developing recommendations to improve the education system.

Casey called her action plan aggressive but achievable.

"It is an unfortunate, accepted truth that we have fallen behind in educating our children in Nova Scotia. And they, in turn, have fallen behind their peers, nationally and internationally," reads the minister's report, called The 3 Rs: Renew, Refocus and Rebuild.

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