Some educators are calling for the end of standardized tests in New Brunswick after recent assessments showed results far below the targets set by the Department of Education.
Erin Schryer, executive director of Elementary Literacy, says she doesn’t think a standardized test is the only way to know how well children are doing when it comes to literacy.
“If the aim is to understand, fully understand how well our children are faring in learning to read, I do not think a standardized test is the one and only way to get to that answer.”
Recent results show only 73.8 per cent of Grade 2 anglophone students were successful on the provincial reading assessment, compared to the target of 90 per cent.
Among Grade 6 anglophone students, only 54.1 per cent were successful on the provincial reading assessment, which is far short of the target of an 85 per cent success rate.
Schryer told CBC’s Information Morning Fredericton she was a little surprised to hear Education Minister Brian Kenny question the test. “To my knowledge, the test hasn’t changed. It is a test that has been used for several years.”
What Schryer said she would like to see is teachers use the data available to them to provide a better story on how the child is doing in reading, along with their success and challenges.
“I think we really need to think about how we could use that data, what it could look like so we could still report.”
But Jeannine St. Amand, chair of the Parent School Support Committee at Fredericton High School, defended the need for provincial assessments and said the province does have a balanced approach to assessments.
She confirmed the Grade 2 test was the same one that has previously been used, but the Grade 6 test was new.
“I think there will be a lot of reflection on the Grade 6 one to make sure it is measuring what we want to measure.”
St. Amand said the standardized test looks at the province as a whole to see what is working best in some areas and what can be done to improve in areas not doing so well.
Dr. Diana Austin, a professor at the University of New Brunswick, said cuts in education have made an impact on standardized testing results and she worries about the group of students in the middle of the pack.