They might not capture the whole picture, but the 2018 PISA test results are a cause for celebrating Alberta public education, said ATA president Jason Schilling.
Alberta received high marks in the triennial test by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), ranking third in the world for reading and science, and eighth for mathematics. “These are outstanding results,” said Schilling, “and Alberta’s teachers should be very proud. We have outstanding schools with amazing teachers and a world-class curriculum.”
When asked at a news conference why the Association is celebrating these results when it has said in the past that Canada should drop out of PISA testing, Schilling said it’s important to recognize Alberta public education as a beacon for the rest of the world.
“I’ve stood here the last couple of weeks — or months really — in this province and watched public education come under attack by the government,” he said, “and been told by people in power that we’re spending more money on classrooms and not getting good results. This test disproves that.”
The test also speaks to the need for stability in education funding, Schilling added, referring to the province’s $275M cuts to public education.
“The whole world will continue to watch Alberta as a leader in education. The most important thing we can do in this province right now is maintain stability in our world-class system.”
PISA tests are administered by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). For more information, visit www.pisacan.ca. ❚
The problem with PISA
“Although Alberta’s results are high, they do not tell the whole story about education, and that’s why Association policy—as well as that of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation—recommends moving away from standardized testing.
“We are celebrating the success, but we do need to have further discussions about PISA,” Schilling said, adding that the tests are only a snapshot of a moment in time.
“These tests assess a narrow criteria,” Schilling said. “I want to focus on making sure the whole child is educated. We want to ensure that Alberta students are getting the best education, not just enough education to complete a two-hour exam.”