As front-line school leaders, we have been in the unique position of seeing firsthand the rollout of province-wide testing over many years. The mandate of any testing program, be it school-based or province-wide, should be to assess the student's understanding of the material, determine areas that require further remediation and use the data collected to refine the learning plan as needed. Testing should focus on the best interest of the student as well as the accountability needs of the public.

We support testing and accountability. But we also believe that testing must provide schools with clear data that can be used to benefit students in a timely manner, taking into consideration the significant variation in learning abilities and the differences among students from diverse regions, backgrounds and cultures. Accountability should be focused on ensuring that every student is receiving quality instruction, is continuing to progress with the curriculum and is getting the help they need. It should not be about ranking schools, programs or students. The province-wide testing process must consist of more than just a collection of data; it must address the needs of students while being an appropriate use of the time and resources it demands.

In 2003 and 2009, we developed position papers that outlined what we thought would be valuable improvements to the system.

We look forward to continuing to work with the current government to ensure that any province-wide assessments meet the needs of the students.