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Review recommends standardized testing of P.E.I. students continue

Richard Jones, a consultant with RMJ Assessments, presents findings of his review of student assessments on P.E.I. Jones found that student assessments should largely continue under their current form.
Richard Jones, a consultant with RMJ Assessments, presents findings of his review of student assessments on P.E.I. Jones found that student assessments should largely continue under their current form. - Stu Neatby
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A review of P.E.I.’s student assessments, conducted by an Ontario-based consultant, has recommended they continue to be carried out in their present form.

The student assessments, otherwise known as standardized testing, are administered regularly for all students. The score for each school can be found on the website of the Department of Education and Early Learning and Culture.

The review was carried out last fall by RMJ Assessment and included an online survey that drew responses from 1,200 individuals. Focus groups were also held with hundreds of parents, students, principals, teachers and others.

"The people who were involved in those (interviews) expressed general support for the current model, in which students are assessed in literacy and mathematics at key stages of learning – so Grades 3, 6, 9 and 11," said Richard Jones, a senior consultant at RMJ Assessments.

But the review also found that a significant number of teachers are opposed to the assessments. Jones stated that close to half of elementary teachers who participated in online surveys stated common assessments should not take place. Close to 30 per cent of intermediate high school teachers agreed.

“There was a relatively large number of people who called for no provincial assessments,” Jones said.

Jones said some teachers expressed a concern that students in Grade 3 were too young to complete the assessments. Other educators felt the assessments did not provide information that was not already known by educators.

The review made 30 recommendations in all. Among these, it suggested the province re-introduce a language arts assessment in Grade 9 or a literacy assessment in Grade 10 and that French immersion staff be hired to develop and manage the assessments in francophone schools.

Education Minister Jordan Brown said the student assessments have helped the province improve education programming.

“Teachers and staff have used the data to set school goals, plan interventions and bring precision to teaching. These recommendations will help us to ensure that Prince Edward Island continues to be one of the highest achieving provinces in Canada,” Brown said.

“I am a firm believer in assessments and of the adage of what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done.”


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