By Nikki Jamieson
Once again, Horizon Students have gone above and beyond just passing the test; they’ve passed their counterparts across Alberta.
The Horizon School Board received the Provincial Achievement Test results during the regular Oct. 18 meeting, for which the cohort marks revealed that throughout both Grade 6 and Grade 9 levels, for all subjects, a higher percentage of students were passing, versus other students across the province.
“We actually have a very positive and — I would say — staggering success, for our students, achieving the acceptable standard and passing the PAT and diploma exams that they write,” said Amber Darroch, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the HSB.
Each school division’s PATs are compared to the provincial PATs marks, and that is the result that gets published.
This result is cohort, which is used to compare how individual groups of students are doing when compared to the provincial average.
The cohort result is the sum average of the number of students who write the exams marks, with the students who do not write the exams being given a mark of zero automatically.
While this does tend to drag down the provincial average, as a higher percentage of students in the province may not write in the PAT, the cohort mark is considered the best way to judge how students across the province are doing in the classrooms, as they are compared to the provincial average.
“We are really interested in this multi-tiered data, how do we do compared to Alberta students from year to year,” said Darroch. “Of course, it goes up and down. We have factors like a teacher who has never taught a subject before, or a group of students that includes students that struggle more then the group that came the year before them. So because it’s a one snap-shot, and a different group of students that write every year, sometimes taught by a different teacher, mostly not; those variables cause a variation.”
For the Grade 6 PAT, 84.5 per cent of Horizon students passed the Language Arts PAT versus 82.9 of provincial students, 74.3 per cent passed Math versus 71.4, 71.6 per cent passed Social Studies versus 71.1 and 82.4 per cent passed Science versus 77.6.
For the Grade 9 PAT, 79.5 percent of Horizon students passed the LA PAT versus 77 per cent of provincial students, 72.2 per cent passed Math versus 66.7, 64.3 per cent passed SS versus 64 and 77 per cent passed Science versus 73.5.
However, a lower percentage of Horizon students achieved a mark of excellence versus those in the province.
For Grade 6 students, 4.5 per cent of Horizon students achieved a mark of excellence in LA versus 20.4 per cent of students in the province, 9.1 per cent achieved a mark of excellence in Math versus 13.8, 17.9 per cent achieved a mark of excellence in SS versus 22.8 and 27 per cent achieved a mark of excellence in Science versus 27.7. For Grade 9 students, 11 per cent achieved a mark of excellence in LA versus 15.2, 13.4 per cent achieved a mark of excellence in Math versus 17.2, 13.1 achieved a mark of excellence in SS versus 18.3 and both 22.5 per cent Horizon students and provincial students achieved a mark of excellence in Science.
“We do see a trend here of students meeting the standard of excellence do tend to be a little bit below (the province), and as I said last year and last month in our (September) meeting, we do attribute some of this to the fact that almost half of our students speak English as their second language,” said Darroch. “So the fact that our students, even as English-as-a-second-language students, exceed the province is very significant.”
Horizon students also did well on their diploma exams, out performing the provincial average in terms of meeting acceptable standards in six subjects; English 30-1 (68.4 per cent versus 63.8), English 30-2 (67.1 versus 65.6), Social Studies 30-1 ( 68.8 versus 64.2), Math 30-1 (65.5 versus 61.6), Math 30-2 (65.5 versus 61.6) and Biology 30 (69.4 verses 69).
In the three subjects they did not do better in, they were beaten by a margin equal to or less then 2.1 per cent.