EDMONTON… Students in Alberta’s schools are increasingly demonstrating excellence in provincial achievement tests and diploma exams.
The overall percentage of students who attained a standard of excellence on Grade 3, 6, and 9 provincial achievement tests (PATs) increased to 20.2 per cent from 19.5 per cent in the previous year. The percentage of students who met the acceptable standard also rose slightly to 75.5 per cent from 75.2 per cent. One of the highlights of the results is the percentage of students who achieved the standard of excellence in Science 6 and Science 9.
Excellence refers to students who demonstrate a mastery of the core subject material. Acceptable refers to students who demonstrate an understanding of the subject material.
“Ensuring our elementary and junior high students are developing a strong educational foundation in their early academic years is absolutely vital,” said Education Minister Jeff Johnson. “These results indicate that students in Alberta’s schools are acquiring the skills needed to eventually make the successful transition into higher levels of learning, including high school and beyond.”
Higher participation rates in Grade 12 diploma exams reveal that more high school students are choosing to take science courses, with enrolments in Chemistry 30 and Biology 30 now comparable to enrolments in Pure Mathematics 30. The focus on equipping students with strong literacy skills is also reflected in the improved rates of excellence and acceptable standards in English 30-1 exams.
“The improvements in critical reading and writing highlight one of our ongoing areas of focus,” said Johnson. “We’re also encouraged to see more students pursuing an interest in science, which is one of the cornerstones of the knowledge-based world in which they will live and work.”
Provincial standardized tests are one way of enabling Alberta Education, as well as school boards, superintendents, principals and teachers, to assess how well students are meeting provincial standards while identifying strengths or areas for improvement in local programs. The Alberta government is reviewing provincial curriculum, with a greater focus on competencies and preparing young Albertans to be engaged thinkers and ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit. This review will also impact provincial assessment.
Provincial trends are available online at education.alberta.ca by clicking on Provincial Testing.