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Grade 3 students writing provincial exams

Just a heads up…our new government intends to re-instate PATs for grade 3 students. The Edmonton Journal recently posted an article that stated; the ATA president is encouraging parents to “opt their children out of the exams.” It records a score of zero. If enough parents do this; then the government would be forced to re-evaluate the efficacy of giving these exams.

Why? You ask? What’s the point? Well first; you can actually opt your kids out of ANY PATs. Grade 6…grade 9. You have that right, if you feel it may cause undue stress to your child, or perhaps they had an illness and were unable to attend school for a certain amount of time etc. The government would like you to think these exams are to “provide instructions for teachers.” Nonsense…there are HUGE companies behind the scenes that stand to gain money from the writing of said exams, to the printing, to the research, the prep-classes for older grades writing these exams etc. These are exorbitant amounts of public funds that they claim serves to educate teachers on how to better help students. B.s! The tests serve to highlight where the struggles have been for the past year. That is all! The students that will do well, do. The ones that struggle…struggle and some even worse. The kids in grade 6, reading at a grade 2 level, still write the same exams as their classmates and they will perform poorly because they can’t comprehend the language on the exams. Post exams…their parents get letters in the mail that basically shows their child failed every exam…which certainly doesn’t feel good. But, they already knew that…because the teacher has been saying it all along. Which…brings me to another thing….as this isn’t a bash teachers post.( We can all agree…in every occupation there are gems and duds. In this post…let’s assume the teacher in said classes are busting their behinds to help each student). But here in lies the problem. There are numerous reasons kids seem to struggle more so than in the past. Kids are just different. The introduction of the Internet and technology has changed the structure of our learners. But I digress; back to the point: Teachers test at the start of the year. They have an idea of where each child excels and struggles…they have students that by the time they are in grade 6….can be anywhere from grade 1 to grade 9 abilities…or even more in either direction. Said teachers job is to teach for success to all of them. Honestly…a kid at grade 1 level will not be able to read at a grade 6 level by the end of the year. However; with TARGETED instruction, one on one pull out help with a trained interventionist every day for a few months, that child will gain at least a fee grade levels. Maybe reading at grade 3, but the difference is…the skills they have learned have given them the basic building blocks. They now know HOW to decode words they don’t know. They now know the basic skills for comprehension. The classroom teacher can now start to fill in some of those pieces and that child will continue to improve IF the work continues. How does it get so bad you ask? Because each year the government fails to provide money for those interventionists. They are key!!!! Every district has these trained individuals, but they are working in regular classrooms or literacy rooms and don’t benefit the entire school. Schools that can somehow figure out a way to make their budget work for an interventionist to do their jobs in the entire school are losing in other areas…the music, or phys.ed or art programs suffer. Or free educational field trips suffer.

Our current government plans to create money from a dry rock. There are already cut backs, programs being lost. Where will the millions of dollars to institute grade 3 PAT exams come from? An already dry rock. Grade 3 PATs will NOT help grade 4 teachers. It will further highlight where we are failing kids, but we already know…math and reading. What we need to ask is…can we use all of that money to get every school, trained professionals to provide targeted instruction? More one on one help for struggling kids? PATs DO NOT drive instruction. All it tells you is…here are the kids that are doing well, and here are the ones that aren’t. And teachers already have methods of doing that. And I haven’t even gotten into the social emotional effects of 8 and 9 year olds writing provincial exams. The uselessness of these exams were identified before and that’s why they were done away with. I’d even argue the grade 6 ones are also useless. Perhaps by grade 9, in preparation for high school exams…I get it! But 9 and 11 year olds don’t need this. And their teachers already know what they need…money for interventionists and more overall supports provided in the classroom

Something needs to be said and something needs to be done; because teachers are blamed for not teaching well. But, kids need interventions early on. Provincial exams and their feeding of some CEOs pocket…not the answer! OPT your kids out!!!

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41 Responses

  1. Terah Abel Terah Abel says:

    I just want to know where someone died from taking these tests or proof that someone has been permanently damaged from them. I took them, my daughter took them. We survived.

  2. Another example of how people don’t want to teach their kids how the real world works and just let them slide through with everyone getting a prize for showing up. If they can’t take the pressure of a test they won’t survive long working in a real job when they think that there are no winners or losers. No wonder the young adults now are a bunch of spoiled entitled brats

  3. Arlee Hanson Arlee Hanson says:

    My son was so stressed out before each exam. 3,6 and 9

  4. Stacy Cripps Stacy Cripps says:

    I didn’t know you could opt out. I will be talking to the principal when the school opens about something else. I will ask.

  5. Teachers and the ATA will fight anything that will show that teachers are not doing their jobs effectively.
    You pointed out massive failures of our school system in this post. Kids in grad 6 reading at a grade 1 or 2 level? Failure of the system and teachers, how does a kid who can’t read at an adequate level get through? They don’t, but the system doesn’t want to show that.

  6. Dario Tomada Dario Tomada says:

    well with the horrible job our educators are doing, maybe its a chance to catch those who are way behind to catch up. pretty sure there wont be algebra on the test

  7. Better yet, opt out of the compulsory indoctrination system and don’t send your kids to strangers to get dumbed down and turned into tax livestock.

  8. so why do we have teachers if were not able to evaluate at grades to see how the school,teachers and board are doing

  9. If your child is having problems, it is up to you to make up for what the teachers can’t do when taking care of 20-35 students plus yours.

    You need to be your child’s advocate instead of relying on the schools teachers to see what makes your child unique. You can’t send your child to school for 6-7 hours and expect special treatment when most teachers are trying to do their best by our kids.

  10. Karo Li Na Karo Li Na says:

    Education level here is low and you still cry about it
    …..maybe soon school will becomes optional and not to stress your kids too much you can keep them home

  11. Ruth Wadley Ruth Wadley says:

    All standardized tests are OPTIONAL. If you are opposed, write a letter to the Principal & teacher exempting them from the ones you don’t like.

  12. We’re not sending our kids to school to learn and be tested! A government shouldn’t force any kind of education on anyone! Smh

  13. Parents don’t even show up to Parent-Teacher conferences anymore and now you want them to analyze testing and then place a political spin on this?

    Hopefully history class will show just how desperate the sore losers are.

  14. My kids took the PATs and they’re still alive. They’re not testing to see how well your child tests. They test on how well the teacher has taught and on how well the school performed.Hence, the failing grade Alberta received for Grade 6 and 9 PATs for math and English. The report then ranked the schools with the averages.

  15. Sheila Gough Sheila Gough says:

    Stupid half of them still can’t read

  16. Wow, this post is the epitome of making a mountain out of a molehill. Kids will be just fine taking the tests.

  17. Cindy Dato Cindy Dato says:

    When my son was in grade 3, and these stupid tests came out. He did not take it. The teacher on the other hand was pushing hard to have him to the test. It’s a simple no. My son didn’t go to school that day. My son is going to be in grade 12 this year and doing extremely well.

  18. I had take those when I was in kindergarden as well, I’m 51 now and I’m fine it’s not a big deal.

  19. I will not be allowing my daughter take them in 6th grade this year. I also opted my other kids out of them each of the years they are given. I am already not happy with putting my youngest into a local school rather than continuing to homeschool but I’ll be danged if I am going to put her through that unnecessary stress. A PAT shows how well a child tests not how much they actually know. In addition my child has learning disabilities and tossing a worthless test at her just to showcase those disabilities is not happening.

  20. I have never liked these exams but neither do I like your logic. Not once in your rant did you mention the child’s parents helping the children at home to help them get ahead. A teacher cant be your child only source of learning. If your child needs help with reading practice with them at home also. Dont expect everything to depend on the teachers. They aren’t only teaching your child

  21. Steve Friske Steve Friske says:

    Guess teachers now suck and shouldn’t be teaching because our teachers back with those exams explained that people learn in different ways and these tests do not mean you are smart or stupid they are just a way of measuring what may need to be explained in different ways and so forth. No one was stressed out about them, we were all happy we got out of classes to write a test no one took seriously. So happy I didn’t grow up with such soft pushover parents in today’s world because getting a job in the trades would of been impossible being so sheltered, ma God.

  22. Let us protest against all exams all together , as they put unnecessary amount of stress on poor kids.

  23. While I’m glad we do have the option to opt out of the PAT, the grade 6 results were what identified my daughter has a cognitive disability. K-gr 6 she passed everything according to her report cards, and had 70/80s on her grade 6 school exams. Then she failed all the grade 6 PATs and I made the school do testing, and subsequently paid for more involved private testing once we got those results. My kiddo was passed through the school system because she was pleasant and well behaved, when really she was/is several grades behind her peers and may never catch up.

    The school was failing her and the PAT identified that. I realize my case might not be the norm though. Same school for the entire timeframe too. No one said a word about potential issues, but after we had formal results there were a few “I kinda suspected something…” comments.

  24. I have not read anything about parents helping in their child’s education. I’m not talking about having them opt out of the PATs but thru working with their child’s teacher. Assisting at home should be a priority for parents in their child’s learning and education.

  25. I agree 100%. My kids DO NOT write them.

  26. I strongly disagree with not allowing children to be tested. It was a few years back now but after grade 6 testing my child was diagnosed with a reading comprehension problem. Having this information provided us with the ability to choose a school outside our district with a program to help him realize gains in his reading comprehension while keeping him in all his regular classes and succeeding to complete high school and college and move into a nice career.

    All your other political innuendo regarding the current government probably doesn’t belong on Shout-out.

  27. I wish more parents knew they could opt out of them. One of my daughter’s teachers actually threatened her if she didn’t write it. It’s ridiculous. I don’t believe in testing at all though. Giant tests should be abolished.

  28. And let’s give them all ribbons while we are at it. It amazes me how we do not prepare our children for the real world anymore. We are so focused on protecting them from failure or disappointment instead of teaching them how to handle it.

  29. What’s the big worry over a grade three exam? It only gives them more practice in taking tests
    Parents that do this only create anxiety around testing and let me tell you. Nobody will hold their hand while they take a test in university. Is this opportunity to help teach coping skills

  30. If we learn where our kids are struggling, doesn’t that mean they can adjust the curriculum to provide better support in that area? Otherwise, how is anyone to know how the kids are actually doing? Frankly I’m sick of seeing these kids get slid through grades just to wind up so far behind, that they can never catch up.

  31. I cannot understand a parent that does not want their kid being tested. your kid has already been in School for three years shouldn’t you find out if they’re keeping up with the average. not only if the whole class is failing then you know the teachers aren’t doing their jobs. as as a parent don’t you want some kind of validation knowing your child is being taught properly

  32. Nicola Robak Nicola Robak says:

    if teachers would start teaching children how to think critically instead of indoctrinating them with common core and sogi123 Canadian children would do much better and stop participation trophies that’s not getting kids ready for the world it teaches them entitlement

  33. Terri Butler Terri Butler says:

    Yes! This! My oldest is dyslexic and these exams do NOT fairly show his understanding of the course work. I will be opting my kids out for sure (grade 3 and 6)

  34. Yes, let’s put all that money where it will actually help. The former PC government did away with those exams. So, why this government is going even further backward is beyond me.

  35. Lyn Hessels Lyn Hessels says:

    Lets start looking at the TEACHERS who have the high numbers of student failures as well. There are some teachers who absolutely should not be teaching. Unfortunately it’s the children who get those teachers who pay the price and suffer year after year in school. Certainly there are students who have learning disabilities but my guess is that there is a higher percentage of teachers who are just there for the pay check than there are young children with learning disabilities.

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