Edmonton Public School Board votes to suspend diploma exams
EDMONTON -- Edmonton public school trustees are calling on the government to cancel standardized provincial tests this school year.
The school board voted Tuesday afternoon to suspend diploma exams and provincial achievement tests because of the pandemic's impact on students and staff.
"All these things in combination are really stressful for our systems," said school board trustee Shelagh Dunn.
"These large-scale and multi-faceted changes impact the usefulness of scores of diploma exams and (provincial achievement tests) to the point where I don't believe they'll be telling us much useful information this year."
Chair Trisha Estabrook added, "The board, I think, felt quite strongly and recognized that this is a year unlike any other year. And I think there's some health considerations driving why we decided to put this motion forward now."
The decision to cancel or keep the annual exams is up to the ministry of education, which has so far indicated it will not be cancelling the tests.
A week earlier, education press secretary Colin Aitchison told media the ministry had "heard very clearly that parents wanted a return to regular assessment for their children," and referenced an Alberta School Councils' Association survey in which 64 per cent of parents advocated for diploma exams.
However, he said the government would make adjustments to school reentry "as required."
Standardized exams are done to ensure students across the province are graded on a similar level.
Results of those exams typically make up 30 per cent of a student's final grade.
Exams were cancelled last March due to the start of the coronavirus pandemic.