'One stress we don't need right now': ATA pushing province to cancel standardized testing this year
EDMONTON -- In a school year unlike any other, the Alberta Teachers' Association is calling on the province to do away with diploma exams and provincial achievement tests.
Teachers say students are feeling the pressure about the exams that could dictate so much of their future schooling.
"Quite honestly that’s one stress we don’t need right now and it’s one easy stress that we can eliminate to make sure that school is a better experience for staff and students this year," ATA President Jason Schilling told CTV News Edmonton.
Schilling said the association has brought it up to the education minister several times and that Adriana LaGrange was open to discussing it.
A statement from LaGrange's office to CTV News Edmonton said the province will make adjustments to the school re-entry plan as required but that most parents want assessments to continue as normal.
"A survey conducted by the Alberta School Councils' Association found that 64 per cent of parents surveyed favoured a return to regular assessment, including Diploma Exams and Provincial Achievement Tests, for the 2020-21 school year," the statement reads. "That said, we are always exploring options to make this return to in-person learning as smooth as possible."
Schilling says the decision needs to be made now, with some students only weeks away from writing their first diploma exams.
The ASCA survey was completed in May.
Edmonton school trustee and psychologist Shelagh Dunn believes that feelings have changed since the spring and has filed a motion to discuss scrapping this year’s diploma exams at the next public school board meeting.
“Families and children are experiencing significant disruption to their mental health just as a result of the pandemic nothing to do with school,” Dunn said. “If we can take the pressure off in any way, that’s what this motion is meant to do.”
Diploma exams are 30 per cent of Grade 12 students’ marks.
Standardized testing was cancelled at the end of the last school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.