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    ndp
    Dec 07, 2013 12:03 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    ndp
    Dec 06, 2013 8:47 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    ndp
    A few thoughts on this story RE: Sask. teens lag behind Canadian average in global test scores (Star-Phoenix, Dec 4, 2013). The Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) scores are only one measure of student achievement and should be taken as such. They are administered by an organization devoted to Economic co-operation and development (OECD), and not an organisation devoted to Education co-operation and development. However, since the PISA results do get a considerable amount of headlines, discussion, and hand-wringing, let’s take a closer look at Saskatchewan’s results. Saskatchewan outperforms the OECD average on every measure whether in Mathematics, Reading, or Science. In fact, Saskatchewan’s scores have actually improved relative to the rest of Canada since our scores have remained statistically stable, while the rest of Canada’s have declined somewhat, yet are still some of the best in the world especially in Reading and Science. It seems ironic that while the rest of Canada has jumped on the costly and ineffective standardized testing bandwagon, and witnessed their scores mostly drop on PISA, Saskatchewan has resisted and our scores have remained stable. It is also interesting to note that countries like China, Singapore, and Korea, where rote learning is the main teaching and learning approach, top the PISA lists. A telling thought experiment is to try to imagine what differentiates an education in a democracy as opposed to one in a heavily state-controlled regime? If you were blindfolded and dropped into either classroom could you tell the difference? The attributes we value most in a democratic education are things like critical and creative thinking, knowledge of current events, engaged citizenship, and individual agency, in a learning environment that places importance on teachable moments and self-directed, cooperative, and inquiry learning. All important characteristics upon which we place great value, and yet are not measured at all by PISA tests or any standardized tests for that matter. Of course math, reading, and science are very important, but they are not the only lessons we value in a democratic educational system. To paraphrase the educational theorist Alfie Kohn, your test scores went up? Oh NO! What did you have to sacrifice from my child’s education to get that? Marc Spooner Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Regina http://www.leaderpost.com/technology/Sask+teens+behind+Canadian+average+global+test+scores/9244576/story.html
    Dec 04, 2013 9:52 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    ndp
    Given all the hoopla about the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2012) worldwide standardized testing results you'd think they came from an international educational body like "the Organisation for EDUCATION Co-operation & Development" and NOT the Organisation for ECONOMIC Co-operation and Development!
    Dec 03, 2013 3:15 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana

November

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    ndp
    Let me be very clear here: Yes, in 2011, I ran federally for the NDP on a National Homelessness and Housing Strategy platform-- A policy Canada sill desperately needs, one that has recently been called for by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and one that I still fully support. Nothing in that whatsoever negates the fact that, overwhelmingly, the scholarly evidence clearly demonstrates that standardized testing DOES NOT work. No amount of pause, re-direction, or spin can make it work. It is the wrong direction. Period. (For a more in-depth discussion please see http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2013/11/osos113_StandardizedTestingComesToSK.pdf ) I would oppose any provincial government's Ministry of Education, regardless of party, that tried to impose standardized testing for one simple reason: it is an academic's only responsible course of action and it is our obligation to the public, to parents, and especially to students and educators to highlight the best evidence available despite the ideological actions of the government that happens to be in power. From Nov.4, 2013 Hansard records of the Saskatchewan Legislature bottom page 3800 - top 3081 The Speaker: — I recognize the Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Broten: — Mr. Speaker, the question was whether or not the standardized testing approach of this government was going to be scrapped, yes or no. And in that very long answer, Mr. Speaker, I heard a no. It’s no wonder that teachers are frustrated, Mr. Speaker. And Dr. Spooner, an education prof at the University of Regina, had this to say about the government’s recent rhetoric on this: "The ministry’s previously announced standardized testing plans were merely on pause long enough for them to rebrand and relaunch the unpopular and misguided, top-down directive under a more slick public relations strategy." My question to the Premier: is this really just a public relations exercise when it comes to standardized testing, or will his government scrap this ill-informed approach and put those resources straight into the classroom where our kids, where our students, where our teachers need them most? The Speaker: — I recognize the Premier. Hon. Mr. Wall: — Mr. Speaker, I would caution the Leader of the Opposition not to take knowledge of the inside thoughts of the Saskatchewan Party from former NDP candidates like Mr. Spooner. With great respect, I don’t think he knows exactly what the plans of the government are or, Mr. Speaker, whether or not he perhaps is supportive of the direction we’re going to go. Mr. Speaker, I have answered this question in scrums. We’ve answered the question, I think, in estimates last year. We’ve answered the question subsequently through the minister, the new minister’s scrums. I have answered this question at the STF. We’ve answered it already in this House. I’ve said we are pausing the province-wide effort. We’re going to take what’s working in the school divisions today. We’re going to export it. We’re going to continue with Tell Them From Me because it’s working. We’re going to continue with early years evaluation. That was the answer when he asked it in the spring. It’s the answer today. I say it to him in the House again, Mr. Speaker. I can go to his home if he wants me to repeat it there, or meet him for coffee. The answer is the same. So are the questions, Mr. Speaker. http://docs.legassembly.sk.ca/legdocs/Legislative%20Assembly/Hansard/27L3S/131104Debates.pdf
    Nov 29, 2013 9:16 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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Marc Spooner

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