News / Calgary

Teachers say Grade 3 exams don’t benefit kids

ATA survey finds 72 per cent of teachers don’t think the SLAs are worth it

Metro File

Teachers don’t believe the new Grade 3 Student Learning Assessment exams are benefiting their kids – so much that officials are suggesting the exam be rebuilt from the ground up.

The SLAs are meant to replace the old Provincial Achievement Tests. They’re conducted online and earlier in the semester, on the belief that the results can help parents use results to see areas their kids are strong in, and need more work. Teachers can use it to enhance instruction of their kids, and Albertans are assured the education system is meeting the needs of students – in theory.

In practice, teacher’s believe the tests take too much time away from classroom learning, results aren’t delivered in an efficient way, there are issues with technology and English Language Learners have difficulty with them.

A survey of 476 teachers, conducted by the Alberta Teachers Association, found that 72 per cent of respondents felt the SLAs did no benefit their Grade 3 students.

ATA President Mark Ramsankar said the latest iteration of the exam has strayed far from it’s original principles.

“Going all the way back to the beginning and rebuilding it from the ground up is the way we’d like to see this addressed,” he said.

Education Minister David Eggen admitted there are problems with the procedure, including the test itself and getting out the results.

“I’m making sure I gather the information and assess it properly,” he said. “You (have) got to make the right choices for the kids.”

The SLAs have come under fire from teachers in the province since the previous government introduced them.

When Eggen took over the role of education minister, he made the SLAs optional for each school board. The majority of school boards opted to join in on the pilot program.