Grade 6 PATs to be administered across the province this spring

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Grade 6 students across the province will write Provincial Achievement Tests in May and June 2015 and 2016, as Alberta Education postpones piloting of new Student Learning Assessments.

School divisions had earlier been given the choice to opt out of the Grade 6 PATs this year, but Palliser had intended to continue administering the exams.

“We have always said the data we collect from these standardized tests is useful and that we wanted to keep using the PATs until a better assessment tool was available,” said Palliser Superintendent Kevin Gietz. Palliser teachers analyze the annual results data to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in building student understanding of key concepts.

Palliser administered the optional Grade 3 Provincial Achievement Tests last spring, and participated in the pilot of the Grade 3 Student Learning Assessments in late September and early October 2014.

A letter from Alberta Education Deputy Minister Lorna Rosen, emailed to superintendents Thursday, said the new target date for the Grade 6 SLA pilot will be Fall 2016.

Gietz said he was grateful Alberta Education listened to teachers and other stakeholders who raised concerns about the Grade 3 SLAs, the format of the tests and the time it took to grade them.

A survey Palliser conducted with its Grade 3 teachers this fall found most teachers in Palliser did not find the SLA data useful to their teaching of literacy or numeracy. Only a quarter of respondents said it was easy to administer and only 15 per cent said it was easy to mark.

Alberta Education said a two-year pilot of the Grade 3 SLAs will ensure the assessment tool improve students learning and enhances instruction for students.

For more information on the Student Learning Assessments, please visit Alberta Education’s website at