Provincial exams phase out

Students graduating this year can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Students graduating this year can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

They will only have one provincial exam to write  — English 12 or Communications 12.

Grade 12 provincial exams are being phased out all over the province this year so that districts can focus more on developing personalized learning programs for students, says Harj Manhas, School District 27 assistant superintendent of schools.

“The ministry wants school districts to look at personalized learning, and removing provincial exams is a way to ease pressure on school districts so they can continue to implement personalized learning,” Manhas says.

“What has been happening is that teachers were focusing more on curriculum teaching to the provincial exams instead of finding individual student strengths and guiding them in study areas they may enjoy.”  Manhas adds that for several years now universities have not used provincial exam results as criteria for admitting students.

As a result he says less than 10 per cent of graduating students have actually been writing the provincial exams, so the timing is right to focus on personalized learning. Instead he says universities have been using the classroom assessments provided by teachers in their admission processes.

Removing provincials doesn’t mean students will get out of exams all together, as teachers will continue to monitor their progress through regular assessments such as chapter and unit tests and project assignments.

“This just alleviates the pressure on students to score a certain percentage on provincial exams to get into a certain university,” Manhas says.

On the issue of maintaining educational continuity throughout the province, Manhas says curriculum resource material will continue to come from the Ministry of Education but there will be more flexibility in how courses can be delivered.

“The key is flexibility,” Manhas says. “Teachers will be more open to helping students with their future education and career goals.”

Students in Grade 10 will continue to write provincial exams to provide a benchmark on how they are doing in the system at that level.

Grade 11 students will also continue to write the Social Studies 11 provincial exams.

He says not having provincial exams is not a new concept because there have been times in the past when provincial exams were not used.