Alberta Education investigates leak of provincial exam answers on social media
Alberta Education is investigating alleged Provincial Achievement Test (PAT) answers leaked on social media, with at least one school canceling exams.
The ministry has notified schools of grade 9 math answers that would have circulated on June 18, according to education press secretary Katherine Stavropoulos. The ministry “reminds school authorities to exercise due diligence in supervising the remaining PATs.”
“The findings of this investigation may impact future administrations to help minimize the risk of such a breach happening again,” she said in an emailed statement Friday.
The ministry is also aware of other photos and other subjects circulating online, which it will investigate.
PATs – standardized tests administered each year to reflect what students are expected to learn – were written across the province between June 13 and 24.
Exams were suspended for the 2019-20 school year, and only language arts and math were available as electives for 2020-21.
Stavropoulos said schools began having the ability to write PATs at different times during the 2018-19 school year. About a quarter of schools requested to write on other dates due to local events, transport and other issues.
“The window is a way to provide school authorities with flexibility,” she said.
Calgary Catholic Schools spokeswoman Sandra Borowski said in an email that the division became aware that the violation extended beyond the first part of the math PATs to other exams, as students who had access to the answers and had taken the exams previously published on social networks.
She said St. Martin de Porres School in Airdrie, Alberta. canceled PATs because the school operates on a quarterly schedule with write-in dates extending beyond June 24, “which would lead to a more widespread security breach calling into question the validity of 9th grade PAT results year”.
Grade 9 students received another optional final assessment, Borowski said.
Edmonton Public Schools said last week it was looking into the matter. The Calgary School Board said it was aware of a breach and was working with Alberta Education. The Edmonton Catholic School Board said communication is ongoing with the province, but it has not canceled any PATs.
A search for “Alberta PAT answers” on TikTok shows several videos with thousands of views claiming to reveal multiple-choice answers for science and social studies.
“They should be cancelled”
Sarah Elaine Eaton, an associate professor at the University of Calgary who studies cheating and academic misconduct, said it would be natural for applicants to review these answers whether they are correct or not.
“It’s human nature to be tempted, especially when you think that if we don’t cheat, or take a look at those answers, others might have an advantage over us,” he said. Eaton said.
Eaton said the PATs were compromised, making the results more valid and reliable. She said what happens next should be simple – they should be canceled.
“There’s no way to put the toothpaste back in the tube, if you will,” she said.
Eaton said there have been many instances of online responses being leaked over the past few years, including Ontario Bar exams.
“I’ve heard of this in other jurisdictions, it’s really not that uncommon, so it really calls into question whether standardized tests are an effective way for students to show off their knowledge,” a- she declared.
Ensuring devices are turned off, tests are done in person using pencil and paper, and exams are administered at the same time are possible safety measures to use, she said. declared.