Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:55

Alberta PAT testing will be changed

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The Alberta government will work to replace Provincial Achievement Tests with new Student Learning Assessments starting in September 2014.

The announcement was made by Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson on May 9. The new computer-based tests will be developed by experts. Students in grades 3, 6 and 9 will write the tests at the beginning of the school year.
“Kids learn at their own pace and we need to make sure parents and teachers are informed about how kids are doing and where they might need help,” said Johnson. “Moving the provincial assessment to the start of the school year allows more time to identify areas where kids might need some extra attention and get them the support they need to succeed.”
The tests will continue to focus on literacy and numeracy, but also help educators and parents understand how students demonstrate competencies such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.
Grade 3 students will write the new assessments first, with pilots starting in September 2014. By September 2015, all Grade 3 students will write the new tests. Pilots for grades 6 and 9 will begin in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Officials with Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) see huge potential with the move to student learning assessments.
“We’re pleased this is being looked at seriously and we’re looking forward to more information,” says Brian Andjelic, PRSD’s deputy superintendent.
He happened to be meeting with principals from PRSD schools on May 9 when the new testing was announced. In discussions about it, he said administrators had some questions about what logging into a network would look like for a child just starting Grade 3 and who the experts are who will be coming up with the test questions. They did however like that computer-based testing may result in more immediate feedback for educators and parents.
“It makes good sense to move (these tests) to the fall,” adds Andjelic. “It has very good advantages. I hope it makes a positive difference for teachers planning for students.”
There is hope teachers will be able to analyze test results in more depth and really look at students’ strengths and challenges.
For now until more details are released, school division officials are cautiously optimistic about the changes.

Read 2077 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:18
Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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