Grade 12 Optional Provincial Exams
Based on our experience, students consider the following with regards to sitting Provincial exams:
- A very small percentage (often less than 5%) of students choose to write these exams
- Students must achieve 86% or better in 3 exams in order to win the Provincial Scholarship. (This idea is abandoned when one exam does not go well)
- Students sit exams in order to improve a school grade. (Students abandon this idea when they do not do well in school final or they realize that colleges and universities do not consider provincial results. Besides the results which are posted in early August are too late for effective course selection!)
- Students do not sit the exam for “the experience”.
- Schools schedule teachers to supervise exams, a coordinator to organize, monitor and expedite exams and a space to sit exams. These resources are extremely underused.
- The considerable expense involved in generating exams, shipping and handling, marking and reporting is questionable.
- Multiple days of learning is sacrificed for exams for a handful of students.
- Abandon the exams
- Reinstate compulsory exams for academic courses (universities and colleges no longer use these results for admission)
- Provide e-exams at the Grade 12 level which are administered and graded in-school
- Develop one mandatory “exit” exam for each student in the Province that can be written in a student’s Gr. 11 or Gr. 12 year. The exam would be used to determine a student’s overall skills related to various literacy competencies. The exit exam should embrace the ideals of Personalized Learning whereby the “content” area of the exam would be based on student interest and choice. (E.g. Students could produce a piece on non-fiction writing on the exam on a topic of their choice)
- The Science 10 exam is a catch-all for all students- learning disabled and gifted students sit the same exam. The exam is content heavy.
- The English 10 exam is a catch all for all students - learning disabled and gifted students sit the same exam. The exam is loose and subjective. Only multiple-choice is marked by ministry.
- Foundations and Pre-Calculus Math 10 is a catch-all for all those students who wish to have credit that transfers to post-secondary leaning.
- Social 11 exam forces teachers to stress content over literacy and skills and only multiple choices is marked by ministry.
- Students tend to believe that the objective mark from the exam is more authentic than the personalized mark generated through the year.
- Students lose confidence in core disciplines at the Grade 10 level. This is particularly true of students who have special learning needs (e.g. The children of new Canadians for whom English is not their mother tongue). These students need the extra two years to master culture and literacy.
- Abandon exams and allow schools to focus on literacy and skills in core disciplines from which they will generate independent, personalized exams.
- Provide differentiated e-exams at the Grade 10/11 level which are administered and graded in-school
- Exit exam at the Gr. 12 level will provide standardized data.
Would like to hear other thoughts as well….