I was talking to a friend of mine who teaches grade 3. That means they are teaching a grade level when students in Alberta have to write their first Provincial Achievement Test.
She typically insulates the children from these waste-of-time exams, which means she spends as little time on them as she possibly can.
One day, a student asked the teacher why they were writing these Provincial Achievement Tests. She replied that the government wanted to know how well they were learning.
The student then replied, "why don't they just ask you?"
The education ministry of Alberta won't even argue with this indictment of the grade 3 Provincial Achievement Exams! It's not official yet, but 2010 will be the last year for grade 3 provincial exams - their elimination coincides with the elimination of the Accountability and Reporting Division of Alberta Learning - and it would appear that the grade 6 exams may be next to go!