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Standing Up For Students: Changes to Alberta standardized testing need to be reviewed

On day three of Wildrose Standing up for Students week, Wildrose Education Shadow Minister Mark Smith is calling on Education Minister David Eggen to apply the brakes on limiting and diminishing the importance of standardized testing in the province.

“As Minister Eggen is aware, the decisions to phase out Provincial Achievement Tests in Grade 3, as well as the decision to shift from equal weighting between teacher-awarded grades and diploma exam grades to a 70/30 split were both made under the previous government,” Smith said. “I know Minister Eggen agrees with me that we should return Alberta to a world-class education system. That means that we should do a careful review before implementing these potentially harmful policies.”

Complaints and concerns from teachers and parents have cropped up about the reliability and effectiveness of Student Learning Assessments (SLA) as a largely untested product that Alberta will now rely on for evaluating the effectiveness of the system in educating students from kindergarten to Grade 3.

For Grade 12 students, the switch from the 50/50 balance between teacher-awarded and Diploma Exam marks to 70/30 could significantly impact the fairness, objectivity and transparency of the final grades that are used for crucial next steps including applying for post-secondary placement, awards and scholarships.

“It is not clear that the Education department has assessed which students might be impacted by these changes,” Smith said. “The minister needs to ensure that the changes being made to these crucial standardized assessment tools were well thought out by the last government. Wildrose will continue to stand up for students, teachers and parents to ensure Alberta has an education system that is once again the envy of the country and the world.”