Gateway Gazette

Student Achievement Results In Foothills School Division Hold Their Own Amid Post-Flood Challenges

High River, AB – While a higher than normal percentage of students in flood affected areas did not write Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) last year, as they continued to deal with a variety of stressors in the aftermath, student achievement results in Foothills School Division remained strong. According to provincial assessment results released today, the Division continued to see incremental growth in student achievement in 2014, particularly in the acceptable standard relative to provincial achievement data.

“Despite the absence of the PAT data, Foothills’ student achievement results remained strong,” said John Bailey, Superintendent of Schools for Foothills School Division (FSD). “We are very proud of the post-flood work accomplished by our staff and students. It has been truly inspiring to see how affected staff put the learning needs and emotional well-being of their students first.”

Highlights of FSD’s provincial assessment results include:

  • As a result of FSD’s decision to participate in the new Student Learning Assessment (SLA) pilot this Fall, students did not participate in the optional Grade 3 PATs last spring.
  • English Language Arts results at the Grade 6, 9 and 12 levels remain consistent with standards achieved in previous years. Similarly, results for French Language Arts are consistent with those of prior years.
  • Student achievement in Biology at the Grade 12 level has increased over the past two years, with students performing within the acceptable range relative to the province. Overall, the gap between Science results in FSD and the province narrowed considerably in the past year.
  • FSD continues to be strong at meeting the needs of our diverse learners.

“This data is just one gauge of how we’re performing, however, these results tell us that we continue to head in the right direction,” says Bailey. “We invest a great deal of time examining and evaluating this data with our school administrative teams. This process informs our strategic priorities for the year ahead, at both the school and system levels, as part of our focus on continuous improvement,” Bailey explains.

Among the areas of focus for 2014-2015:

  • While FSD’s results in the Science disciplines at the Grade 12 level (Chemistry, Physics, Science 30) remain slightly below the provincial average in the acceptable range, the gap continues to close through FSD’s concerted focus on instructional practices and student achievement.
  • Continuing our work toward improving the number of students achieving the standard of excellence.
  • Through a variety of instructional programs, sustaining the emphasis on the development of strong math, literacy and numeracy skills, which are so vital to student success in school, work and life.
  • Trends in Math 6, 9, 30-1 and 30-2 cannot be tracked at this stage as this is only the second year of the current curriculum.

“While the overall results are positive, we are always striving to improve. As a school system, we believe that we all own the results, both the successes and the areas that require ongoing attention,” says Bailey. “I commend our school administrators and staff, divisional leadership and Learning Services teams, and Trustees for their consistent efforts to improve student learning as a whole in Foothills.”

Division and school education plans are required to be submitted to Alberta Education at the end of November 2014. As part of the process, our schools will be sharing the data and consulting with their communities. In the meantime, for more information about provincial assessment results at your child’s school, please contact the school principal.

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