Alberta Education investigating social media posts about provincial achievement tests

Videos that recently surfaced on social media have prompted Alberta Education to launch an investigation into whether they give away answers to Grade 9 provincial achievement tests (PATs).

On June 18, the province alerted school authorities that it was aware of videos on TikTok and Snapchat that may be giving away answers to questions that appear on the PATs.

The province asked school authorities to reinforce requirements related to PAT administration security and reminded them to exercise their due diligence in supervising the remain PATs.

The tests had to be given out between June 13 and June 24, and subjects were not dedicated to a specific day, meaning students could potentially take the test and share information with those who had not taken it yet.

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Edmonton Grade 9 students Hannah Peters and Elise Jack saw some videos about the PATs on TikTok and Snapchat. They said they were surprised and felt uploading such videos was unfair.

“It’s not very good because it’s tests for the teachers to see how the learning is going, and I don’t think that’s a fair assessment,” Peters said.

“I put a lot of work (in to study), especially for the science, and… one I didn’t know, and when the answers came out, I was kind of like, ‘Ohhh,’” Jack said.

“You can’t really trust them either, because we don’t know if they are wrong or right or people put the wrong answers. I was like, ‘You probably shouldn’t post those.’”

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Global News viewed two different social media posts on the science test, each giving completely different answers to the questions.

Friday marked the last day of exams. Jack said her teacher checked all of the students’ calculators to see if answers were hidden in them.

Edmonton and Calgary schools boards told Global News they are aware of the videos.

PATs are given annually to all Alberta students in grades 6 and 9. The tests are meant to reflect academic goals that all students are expected to achieve regardless of school location.

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During the pandemic, the use of PATs was suspended during the 2019-2020 school year. The following school year, the exams were optional for language arts and math but their use was suspended for other subjects.

The administration of PATs resumed this year.

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