ERCSD-AHS Caregiver Poster
2015–16 Grade 3 Student Learning Assessments Pilot
Dear Grade 3 Parents/ Guardians,
2015–2016 Grade 3 Student Learning Assessments Pilot
This fall Alberta Education will continue the Grade 3 Student Learning Assessment (SLA) pilot. An announcement was made recently by the Minister of Education, David Eggen, indicating that participation in the 2015 administration of the Grade 3 SLA Pilot is "optional at the school authority level" but he strongly encouraged school authorities to participate in this year's pilot. Elk Island Public Schools has carefully considered this and determined that we will proceed with the 2015 pilot as originally planned. Some of the considerations that influenced this decision included: The tremendous intrinsic value of the SLAs, which are more inclusive in their scope than PATs as an assessment tool; that the SLAs will accord teachers and parents important information early in the school year that will be of great benefit to learning and instruction, and that the Ministry acted upon detailed feedback
following the 2014 pilot provided by teachers and administrators throughout the province to significantly revise the SLAs and streamline the procedures, therefore reducing the time required to administer and assess.
The pilot will include all Grade 3 students in EIPS and will take place between September 14 and November 1. The assessments will focus on numeracy, literacy, and critical thinking, be digitally based, and offer an opportunity for students to show their learning in ways not possible with paper-based tests. The goal is to provide timely information to parents and teachers, help enhance classroom instruction, and ensure any student learning needs are identified.
Further information regarding SLAs excerpted from the Alberta Education Website is below.
What are Student Learning Assessments (SLAs)?
The Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) are digitally-based beginning of the year “check in” provincial assessment tools that Alberta is developing to enable both parents and teachers to identify student strengths and areas of growth at the start of the school year. The SLA3 is a new, digitally-based provincial assessment focused on "literacy and numeracy", which are defined as follows:
- Literacy is the ability, confidence and willingness to engage with language to acquire, construct and communicate meaning in all aspects of daily living.
- Numeracy is the ability, confidence and willingness to engage with quantitative or spatial information to make informed decisions in all aspects of daily living.
What are the purposes of SLAs?
The SLAs have three main purposes
- To improve student learning (primary purpose).
- To enhance instruction for students.
- To assure Albertans our education system is meeting the needs of students and achieves the outcomes of the Ministerial Order on Student Learning.
With these purposes in mind, the SLAs have been developed primarily as a tool for teachers and parents to help inform and support student learning.
Provincial assessment programs, including SLAs, are meant to complement, not replace, day-to day teacher observations and classroom assessment. They are sources of information that must be interpreted, used, and communicated within the context of regular and continuous assessment by classroom teachers.
Why the change to SLAs?
SLAs are designed to be a start of the school year “check in” or formative assessment tool. Knowing early in the school year, rather than at the end, what students know and are able to do and areas for growth will serve as useful reference and enable collaboration between parents and teachers to help students learn and grow during the year. Also, the SLAs are flexible and can be completed over a number of days rather than on a specific day and time, thereby giving teachers greater flexibility and students the opportunity to take the assessment “when ready”.
Also, as provincial programs of study continue to evolve to place a greater emphasis on literacy and numeracy development in all subject areas, as well as competencies (an inter-related set of knowledge, skills and attitudes), provincial standardized tests must also evolve.
What is the structure of the SLA3?
The four components of the SLA3 are:
- digital interactive literacy questions (45 questions)
- literacy performance task (4 activities)
- digital interactive numeracy questions (44 questions)
- numeracy performance task (2 activities).
The SLA3 is available in English and in French. The French versions are designed to meet the needs of Francophone and French Immersion students.
Further information on the 2015–2016 Grade 3 SLA pilot, visit www.education.alberta.ca/sla.
If you have additional questions about the Grade 3 SLA pilot please contact your child’s Grade 3 teacher or Evelyn Gaudet, Principal of Pine Street School.
Grade 6 PAT's 2014-16
Grade 6 Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs)
In February, Alberta Education announced Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) will be written by all Grade 6 students throughout the province in June 2015 and June 2016. This change will allow a second year of pilot testing of the Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) at the Grade 3 level before SLAs are introduced at the Grade 6 level. As such, all Grade 6 students in Elk Island Public schools will write PATs this school year and next school year.
We recognize this is a change in how our staff and families were expecting Grade 6 assessments to be delivered this school year. EIPS school staff will continue to work closely with Grade 6 students to ensure they are prepared to complete PATs in May and June 2015.
Alberta Education received feedback from stakeholders throughout the first pilot year of Grade 3 SLAs this past fall. This feedback indicated stakeholders felt more time is needed to ensure the Grade 3 SLAs are a valuable assessment tool for teachers, parents, students, and Albertans before transitioning from PATs to SLAs in grades 6 and 9. The second year of the Grade 3 pilot administration will allow further opportunities to ensure the SLA is a valuable tool. Alberta Education is committed to fully implementing new SLAs in the early grades, but removing or suspending the current achievement tests in the absence of a reasonable alternative would remove an important method of public assurance that the education system is performing well.
Additional key dates and important information from Alberta Education are available at http://www.education.alberta.ca/admin/testing/achievement.aspx.
Connect to Respect
Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) would like to thank all of our parents, students, and families for the role you play in ensuring our schools are safe and respectful working and learning environments. EIPS is proud to have a policy in place, Board Policy 19, Respectful Working and Learning Environments, that prohibits harassment and discrimination of any kind in our division. We all play a part in creating a safe, caring, and violence-free environment that fosters and maintains respectful and responsible behaviours.
One such example of this work in action is the recent Pink Shirt Day that took place in late February. We know a number of our schools were involved in Pink Shirt Day activities, and we thank you for being involved and taking a stand against bullying.
If you would like more information about the policies in place within EIPS, please review Policy 19, Respectful Working and Learning Environments on our division website at http://www.eips.ca/policies/535.