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Edmonton Catholic School Division cancels provincial achievement tests this year

Click to play video 'Calgary Catholic students won’t be writing provincial achievement tests this year' Calgary Catholic students won’t be writing provincial achievement tests this year
WATCH (Oct. 7): Students within the Calgary Catholic School District won't be writing their provincial achievement tests this year. The board has cancelled the PATs. Jill Croteau has more – Oct 7, 2020

Edmonton Catholic Schools are the latest in Alberta to cancel provincial achievement tests (PATs) this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In light of the impact of the many changes to education that have occurred since March, we believe it is in the best interests of our students’ well-being to cancel the PATs for the 2020-21 school year,” Supt. Robert Martin wrote in a letter to parents on Oct. 22.

“As we continue to navigate the educational impacts of COVID-19, we recognize that the added stress of PATs for our students needs to be avoided.”

PATs are traditionally taken by Grade 6 and Grade 9 students.

Both Calgary Catholic and public school divisions have already cancelled the tests for this year.

Read more: Calgary Catholic students won’t be writing Provincial Achievement Tests this year

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The Edmonton Public School Board included PATs in its motion to the province to postpone diploma exams, even though they are already optional. Families can simply make a decision for their children to opt out of them already.

Read more: 'Not a standardized year': Edmonton Public School Board decides to push province to cancel PAT, diploma exams

On Oct. 13, Alberta Education announced diploma exams would be optional for students this term amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In a statement, the ministry said the exams would be optional for students this October and November. No decision has been made yet on whether diploma exams will be mandatory or optional for the upcoming terms.

Schools districts across Alberta were also given an option earlier this year by Alberta Education to either proceed with the Provincial Achievement Tests or opt out altogether.

Read more: Diploma exams to be optional for Alberta students this October and November

“It is important to note that PATs are only one of many ways that we assess student learning to ensure that curricular outcomes are being met,” Martin explained in the letter.

“Our teachers will continue to use a broad spectrum of formative and summative assessment.”

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Read more: COVID-19: Edmonton father raises concerns over in-person exams for online Catholic school students

As of Thursday, there were COVID-19 alerts or outbreaks in 101 Alberta schools and 561 cases total. That means there are outbreaks in about nine per cent of Alberta schools.