School Division reports student improvements

Golden Hills School Division is performing well, according to the most recent results on the Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Examinations.
"The results are a testament to the teachers and administrators who are central in helping every student achieve success in school," said Dianne McBeth, Superintendent of Schools. "Our results demonstrate that continued improvement and student success in our schools require excellence in teaching practice."
Trends over three years show Golden Hills improved the percentage of students achieving the Acceptable Standard in six of the ten Achievements Tests from Grades 3, 6 and 9. Additionally, the percentage of students achieving the Standard of Excellence improved in five of the ten Achievement Tests. The most notable gains occurred in Mathematics at Grades 3 and 6 and Social Studies in Grades 6 and 9. This is an important change given that provincial results at the acceptable level had been declining in recent years.
While the Diploma Examination results did not match the improvement at the lower grades, the percentage of students achieving the bench mark for Acceptable Standard in Golden Hills matched the provincial average. In six of nine examinations, the jurisdiction achieved the provincial bench mark for the Standard of Excellence.
"The emphasis on professional development to improve instructional practice and the culture of using data and research to inform teaching contributes significantly to these results," commented Dr. Kandace Jordan, Associate Superintendent of Instructional Services. "Over the past few years, the focus on building capacity to lead system-wide change and the emphasis on improving assessment practices to coach higher levels of achievement have supported teachers and principals in their work to meet the learning needs of every student, " Jordan elaborated. The school division's Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) project, system-wide is "assessment for learning."
The Provincial Achievement and Diploma Examination results are measures included in the provincial Accountability Pillar Result. Other indicators include dropout rates, high school completion, post secondary transition rates and a variety of stakeholder satisfaction measures.
Principals present their school's results, along with important contextual information, to parents at School Council meetings and through the Annual Education Plans and Results Reports which will be posted by November 30.
The Board of Trustees reviewed the division and each school's results in accordance with provincially developed protocols. "The Board is pleased with the overall direction and improvement," said Ron Kenworthy, Chair. "We have a good understanding of the unique circumstances at every school - the challenges and the successes. We consider that some schools have fewer than eight students writing (and so the results cannot be published) and that in small classes, a single student's results will have a large percentage impact.  That kind of awareness is critical to understanding the results.  I strongly encourage parents to attend the meetings where Principals review results and discuss continuous improvement processes."
Further information about the test and examination results can be found at http://education.alberta.ca/admin/funding/accountability/results.aspx