EDMONTON -- Provincial achievement tests have been cancelled for a second straight year by Edmonton's Catholic and public school districts.  

The tests are typically written in June by Grade 6 and Grade 9 students. 

"It is our hope that opting out of writing the PATs this year will help alleviate some of the stress students are experiencing as a result of COVID-19,"  Darrel Robertson, superintendent of schools for Edmonton Public Schools, wrote in an online letter.

"We have heard from many of our families and school communities that writing tests like this is adding pressure and anxiety."

This year, school divisions were given the chance to decide if the exams would be written. 

"We believe it is in the best interests of our students’ well-being to cancel the PATs for the 2020-21 school year," reads a letter to parents from Robert Martin, chief superintendent with Edmonton Catholic Schools. 

"We recognize that the added stress of PATs for our students needs to be avoided."

Both divisions note that the PATs are one of many ways student learning is assessed. 

Calgary's Catholic and public schools have also cancelled the tests for this school year.

Earlier this month, the province announced that diploma exams would be optional for Alberta students.