Student Learning Assessments

Student Learning Assessment Update - Grade 6

The implementation and development of the Grade 6 Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) were originally scheduled to be piloted in fall 2015. However, Grade 6 SLA pilot will be rescheduled for fall of 2016. 

For more information on how this could impact the upcoming Provincial Achievement Tests, visit Alberta Education's website.

Alberta Education  has informed us that Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) will be replaced with Student Learning Assessments (SLAs).

What is Student Learning Assessment (SLA)?

Student Learning Assessments will take place at the beginning of the school year and will have a strong focus on how well students apply what they are learning. The information from the SLAs will be used to identify each student's strengths and areas requiring improvement. Moving assessment to the beginning of the school year gives students, parents and teachers the needed information to develop personalized learning plans that build on student’s strengths and address challenges as needed.

What will SLAs look like?

Students will participate in literacy and numeracy assessments. They will not be timed; SLAs are being designed so that students can typically complete them within 60 minutes. Each SLA will have two components: a digitally scored component and a performance-task component.

The literacy SLAs are being developed for English and French Immersion students.  The numeracy SLAs are being developed in English and will be translated for French Immersion students.

How will this affect my child?

Students currently in Grade 3 in Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools will not write PATs in June 2014. Students who enter Grade 3 in September 2014 will be the first to participate in pilot SLAs. The pilot year will allow teachers, parents and schools to provide feedback. It is anticipated that Grade 6 and Grade 9 will participate in SLAs in 2015 and 2016 respectively. At that point, PATs would no longer be administered.

For more information on Student Learning Assessment, please visit the Alberta Education SLA webpage.

Student Learning Assessment FAQ

What are Student Learning Assessments and how are they different from Provincial Achievement Tests?

The new Student Learning Assessments will maintain a strong focus on literacy and numeracy, but will also include interactive approaches to help educators and parents understand how well students can apply what they have learned and demonstrate competencies such as creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving. The Provincial Achievement Tests assess student learning relative to the expected outcomes of the provincial Programs of Study. Student Learning Assessments will be administered as a series of computer-based tests at the start of the school year, unlike the Provincial Achievement Test, which is a single test at the end of the school year. 

What is the difference between assessing students at the end of the school year and the beginning of the school year?

Inspiring Education, a province wide consultation on the future direction of education in Alberta, envisions an education system that is more responsive to the learning needs of individual students. An assessment at the start of the school year provides students, parents and teachers with the data source, time and information to plan student programming and support more personalized student learning for the rest of the school year. 

Why are literacy and numeracy important to assess and how does that align with the program of studies?

Literacy and numeracy are foundational to all learning. Initially, the new provincial literacy and numeracy assessments will reflect the current provincial Programs of Study. All provincial Programs of Study will be revised through Alberta Education’s Curriculum Redesign process. As new Programs of Study are implemented that align with the vision of Inspiring Education, the new provincial assessments will reflect those new Programs of Study. 

Will the new assessments be multiple-choice tests?

The PATs use multiple-choice, numerical-response and written-response questions to determine if students can understand, apply and analyze what they’ve learned in the classroom. The new assessments may use these question types, but new developmentally appropriate question types are being researched. 

One of the issues with provincial assessment is student stress. How will this issue be addressed?

As part of the change, the new assessments will be taken as a series of manageable components rather than the single PAT and will be administered within a flexible time period. If a particular day is not a good day for a student to write one of the components, then it can be written on a different day. It is essential to have an accurate and realistic understanding of a student’s capabilities. Therefore, the focus of the new assessments is to plan student programming and support improved student learning, rather than just grading students. 

Are there plans for assessing students at grades other than Grades 3, 6 and 9?

Having provincial standards is a good thing. That does not mean that every assessment is a provincial test. Building assessment capacity in classrooms is important and it may prove to be beneficial to pursue collaborations with teachers to build other assessments of literacy, numeracy and cross-curricular competencies to support learning. 

Source: Alberta Education - Student Learning Assessment and Student Learning Assessment FAQ