Iqaluit schools prepare again for standardized tests

Department to follow “made in Nunavut” strategy



Iqaluit schools are preparing to embark on the next step toward standardized testing – this time with full cooperation, and under the direction of the department of education.

But now it’s the Iqaluit District Education Authority that’s hesitating.

Over the next several weeks, the department will be delivering materials to Iqaluit schools that explain its strategy for implementing standardized testing.

But members of the IDEA said during a meeting on Monday evening that they don’t think they have enough information to proceed.

“A direction has to be set in the community as to what direction student assessment is to take,” said Kathy Smith, chair of the IDEA. “Until we have more information, I don’t think we can decide what we’re doing.”

But David Lloyd, associate principal of Inuksuk High School, recommended the IDEA keep moving forward.

“The momentum that built last year is one we don’t want to lose,” said Lloyd, who was chair of the committee that drafted the department of education’s strategy for standardized testing earlier this year when he worked at department headquarters.

In February, members of the IDEA voted to implement standardized testing in Iqaluit schools, using tests provided by the Alberta government.

But Nunavut’s department of education objected to the English-only tests, and committed to developing a “made in Nunavut” testing strategy.

Now, the department is ready to move on to the next step – workshops involving students and teachers, and possibly parents.

“The next step is to create the dialogue – to have another impassioned debate,” Lloyd said.

Smith said the schools should be working as a group in implementing the strategy, not individually.

“In the long run, I think it needs to be looked at in the community – the four schools together. We’re offering one education to our students. It may be in four different buildings, but it’s one education.”

Members of the IDEA decided to hold the workshops in all schools on Dec. 5 and Jan. 30. They made no provision for parental involvement.

“I guess it’s timely, it’s also the time we’re issuing report cards,” Lloyd said.

Monday night’s meeting was the last full meeting of the IDEA before the board is dissolved and new members, elected in the Oct. 20 municipal election, are sworn in.

Members will choose a new chair during the next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 17.

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