Do you approve of standardized testing including provincial achievement and diploma exams, the international PISA test as a means to assess student, school and board performance?

October 5, 2021

I work as an academic at the University of Lethbridge. I typically teach a wide variety of undergraduate students. This student group includes incoming first year engineering students, science majors in a variety of disciplines, and students of all backgrounds taking science and astronomy as part of a general liberal education requirement. I also supervise graduate students and am involved in the evaluation of graduate student admissions into university programs. Standardized tests are an important part of post-secondary admissions to ensure that students are accepted into programs in which they can thrive. As such, I support standardized testing measures as a means to ensure that our students are meeting the curriculum learning objectives and have access to national and international post-secondary education.

Canadian students are some of the highest performers in the world on standardized PISA tests and as such have international recognition and access to higher education worldwide.

I recognize that not all students need standardized tests as tools for their future careers, and hope that the focus of curriculum instruction is on the actual learning rather than on learning how to write a test.  The instruction of `how to write a standardized test’ is a waste of time and distracts from more important learning. I also support for aggregate use of standardized testing assessments, and that they be re-evaluated consistently so that they do accomplish intended goals.  Again, this should not be the primary focus of the education system, but a minimally invasive portion of it, where additional resources can be made available to address areas needing extra attention. This year there are extra literacy and numeracy testing programs to ensure that COVID-related learning gaps are addressed in a timely manner. This is an important part of our post-COVID recovery.