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Education Minister must be clear on standardized testing: Wildrose

Education Minister David Eggen needs to be more transparent about his government’s plans surrounding Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) and other standardized tests following reports that these critical tools for monitoring student performance may be on the way out, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

An Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) official stated in an editorial that standardized testing in Alberta schools will be “eliminated.” Eggen then refused to clarify the union officials’ comments Thursday.

Wildrose Shadow Education Minister Mark Smith said assessments like the PATs and diploma exams are valuable tools and help ensure that our students are achieving acceptable educational outcomes.

“Standardized tests promote accountability and are an important part of the strength of Alberta’s education system,” Smith said. “With the ATA seeming to set the agenda about standardized testing, Minister Eggen needs to provide clarity about what exactly he is planning to do about PATs and other standardized and international tests.” 

Performance scores have been deteriorating in Alberta over the last number of years.

Smith warned that eliminating PATs would be the latest in a long line of bad decisions imposed on our education system.

“Alberta students used to get world-class results and the best results in Canada. Now we are in the middle of the pack in a Canada that is falling behind the rest of the world,” Smith said. “We’ve been going in the wrong direction for far too long and the NDP isn’t changing anything for the better in this regard. Potentially losing standardized testing is a great concern to Alberta parents, students and teachers.”