Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why is the President of the Alberta School Council's Association crediting standardized testing for Alberta's educational successes?

I came across the President of Alberta School Council's Association Marilyn Sheptycki's response to this Calgary Herald pro-standardized testing post:

A well researched, common sense editorial on standardized testing (Calgary Herald, October 12) deftly laid out what every parent should know – that for years Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) in Alberta have helped improve teaching, tweak curriculum, and identify improvements that ultimately benefit student learning. In terms of accountability to parents for their children’s learning in a publicly funded education system, PATs have a proven (and positive) track record as a solid assessment strategy in the basket of assessment tools available to professional educators. Some don’t know that in the 1970’s, standardized tests were discontinued here in Alberta and the result of this move --a marked decline in student achievement -- caused the government to reintroduce them a few years later. Today, we have a system of assessment tied to curriculum outcomes that identifies gaps, and is used as a tool to make adjustments, refine, and ultimately improve learning opportunities for students. It takes the concerted efforts and support of many in a school (and system) to inspire and engage students in their learning – but a measuring stick to assess the level of their learning, and report it to their parents, is augmented by a set of standardized tests that accurately demonstrate where students sit in relation to their knowledge of the curriculum. Little wonder Alberta’s education system is recognized internationally as one of the best in the world. 
Marilyn Sheptycki, President Alberta School Councils' Association


I have a couple questions:

  • Could someone please show me research that shows that Alberta's successful education system is due to the presence of standardized testing?
  • Could someone please show me any research that standardized testing improves learning and aids teaching?
  • Could someone please show me evidence that shows Alberta parents require standardized testing?
My last question is this:
  • Why is the President of the Alberta School Council's Association crediting standardized testing for Alberta's educational successes?

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