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Changes to PAT & Diploma Administration

Alberta Education offers the following question and answer in response to changes made to the administration of provincial achievement test and diploma exams.

Alberta Education - Q&A

Q1: Do all students need to take twice the amount of time to write Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) or Diploma Exams?

A1: No, students may use additional time, if needed. Some students may only need a few minutes to finish writing provincial assessments, while others may take longer (up to twice the official time limit).


Q2: If more time is available for students to write provincial assessments, will the tests be harder or have more questions?

A2: The design of the diploma exams and PATs has not changed.


Q3. Since students have additional writing time if they need it, will they be expected to write longer written response essays?

A3. The expectation for provincial assessments, including those with written responses, stays the same. An attribute of being a strong writer is the ability to be concise.


Q4: How are accessing supports such as audio formats different from the past?

A4: Students can now access accommodations without having to go through an application process. If students typically use accommodations such as audio for their classroom assessments, their teacher can simply order this format by the deadline in the General Information Bulletin from Alberta Education for the PAT or diploma exam.


Q5: I typically use audio for my classroom assessments, however I’ll be writing the diploma exam at another school. What do I do?

A5: Before the diploma exam administration date, it is recommended to contact the school where you will be writing your diploma exam and inform them that you will need an audio version.


Q6. How will students who are writing both Physics 30 and Science 30 on the same day be eligible for the extra time provision?

A6. Starting in the 2017/18 school year, principals may decide to start the administration of the diploma exams early when more than one diploma exam is scheduled on one day. Students writing morning diploma exams cannot be dismissed until 10:00 A.M. and students writing afternoon diploma exams cannot be dismissed until 2:00 P.M. Physics 30 is offered five times a year (November, January, April, June & August) and Science 30 is offered four times a year (January, April, June & August), so students may be able to plan their schedule so that they do not write both Science 30 and Physics 30 on the same day.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about supports for students writing provincial assessments, please contact Joanne Neal, Director of Exam Administration, at joanne.neal@gov.ab.ca or call 780‑492-1495.

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