Saturday, December 17, 2011

Provincial Achievement Tests are optional

In Alberta, the grade 3, 6 and 9 Provincial Achievement Tests are optional.

To exercise your democratic right as an Albertan parent, you can opt out of Provincial Achievement Tests by simply writing a letter to your child's principal. As a parent, here is the letter I have drafted:
Dear Principal, 
My child will not participate in writing any of the Provincial Achievement Tests. 
Joe Bower
You'll notice that I am not required to provide the reasons why I am doing this. Instead, I am only required to inform the principal that my child will not participate.

Because it is the parents' right to opt their chid out of Provincial Achievement Testing, the child can not and should not be punished for not participating. If all goes well, the only person I would need to talk to about this would be the principal; however, if they were uncooperative, I would move to discuss this with the Superintendent, and if they were uncooperative, I would then engage with Alberta's Minister of Education.

For more on Provincial Achievement Tests here are a couple posts:

Assessment and Provincial Achievement Tests

University of Saskatchewan waives PATs and Diploma exams

Alberta teacher excuses their child from PAT

Accountability and the Provincial Achievement Tests: Myth and Reality

Are Provincial Achievement Tests in Alberta High Stakes Exams?

The fear of Provincial Achievement Testing

The Folly of Provincial Achievement Testing

Exempting from Testing in Alberta

Alberta Provincial Achievement Test Taking Tips

Alberta axes written portion of PATs

Teachers know best

Standardized Testing is Dumbing Down our Schools

Misuse of Provincial Achievement Tests

Thomas Lukaszuk on Standardized Testing


  1. They may be "optional", but students who do not write are assessed a mark of zero, and that mark is factored into the school average.

    Fun, eh?

  2. Thanks. I am opting my child out this year. It's my understanding that schools are not allowed to use the tests for grading purposes, so any such nonsense from my child's teacher will be opposed all the way to the superintendent if it comes to it.

    The second half of the year hasn't even begun and I am weary of my child's teacher's obsession with the PAT's. It reminds me of her grade 3 teacher, who frankly did nothing but lash the children with constant prep and fear. Grade three was the year that school was nearly ruined for my daughter, and I am grateful for her grade 4 and 5 teachers who managed to undo much of the damage to her self-confidence and the large holes in her learning left in the wake of that awful year.


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