SOS Alberta and RAD Educators Call on the Minister of Education to Definitively Cancel all Standardized Tests for the 2020/21 School Year
Monday, November 16, 2020
For Immediate Release
Demanding students write standard exams in a non-standard year shows complete disregard for the impact COVID19 is having on our education system
Standardized exams are structured so all test takers answer the same questions under the same conditions. But clearly, conditions are not standard this year. The pandemic has caused significant disruption to learning environments. Support Our Students and RAD Educators Network jointly call for the cancellation of both Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma exams for all students this year.
There is a vast disparity, province-wide, in students’ learning environments; almost 30% of students in Edmonton Public are registered in at-home learning compared to 18% in CBE; some high schools have condensed learning time by shifting to quarterly semesters while others have remained unadjusted. In addition, thousands of students have had to isolate for weeks at a time, further disrupting their education. COVID-19 case numbers, school closures and transitions to Scenario 3 (at-home learning) are increasing throughout Alberta, the situation shows no sign of abating.
Placing the onus of standardized exam continuation on school boards and students creates further inconsistency and compounds the issue. This needs to be a centralized decision, the Minister of Education needs to definitively cancel standardized exams.
Medeana Moussa, Executive Director of Support Our Students says “[i]t is nonsensical for the Minister of Education to refuse to adjust for the widespread disruption to learning in this pandemic school year. It is irresponsible to forge ahead as though students' learning hasn’t been impacted, and continue to allocate money to standardized tests when funding for education is scarce. Alberta students deserve a definitive cancellation of PATs and Diplomas this year.”
RAD Educators Network believes “Standardized tests measure privilege more than academic achievement. An over reliance on these exams risks creating a narrowed curriculum instead of encouraging critical and creative thinking throughout a student's learning. Good teacher observation, documentation of student work, and performance-based assessment, provide a much more accurate metric of student learning outcomes. We call for the Minister of Education to cancel standardized tests full stop.”
Support Our Students Alberta is a non profit citizens action group advocating for universally accessible and equitable public education in Alberta. www.supportourstudents.ca
The RAD Educators Network is a collective of educators (teachers, professors, researchers, activists, early-childhood educators, etc.) from across Alberta who are working for equity and social justice education. www.medium.com
Please direct inquiries to:
SOS Alberta: Wing Li, Communications Director. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RAD Educators Network: Cathryn van Kessel, Twitter: @RADEducators Email: email@example.com