The Grand Erie District School Board is cancelling secondary school exams this year as students and teachers continue to work through changes brought on by the pandemic.
“These guidelines have been modified to reflect changes made by the Ministry of Education in terms of the assessment and evaluation of student learning, and recognize the current circumstances educators, students and families are navigating,” said Denise Martins, superintendent responsible for the Grand Erie’s secondary program.
“These are exceptional times, with significant changes to how the school year is structured and the modes of delivering curriculum learning, so flexibility and responsiveness are crucial.”
The changes mean previously scheduled exam dates on the 2020-21 school calendar will now become “credit rescue/culminating activity assessment days” for each quadmester.
High school teachers with the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic School Boards will determine if they will give students exams or culminating activities throughout or at the end of each quadmester to evaluate students.
“As a district, we still believe there should be some form of culminating assessment,” said Lorrie Temple, superintendent of education for the Catholic board. “In most cases, 70/30 is the appropriate split. That is what our educators had in mind when they planned their courses, and we respect that they should not be expected to pivot midway through this challenging first quadmester.”
Temple said that exams are not mandatory and a culminating task – or series of tasks – is equally valid in determining the final 30 per cent of a course.
At the Grand Erie board, rather than being tested at the end of each quadmester, high school students will instead be assessed on their course work and a final assignment. Martins said that final assignment could be an essay, performance or presentation, a project, report, or a lab demonstration appropriate to the course.
“The intent of the culminating activity is to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their overall learning in the course,” said Martins. “Final marks will be reflective of the whole quadmester’s work, including the culminating activity.”
Exceptions to the breakdown of final marks will be considered for students who experienced delays in accessing internet connections or technology devices for online learning; students impacted by bus cancellations; students directed by the health unit to self-isolate; or other extenuating circumstances, at the discretion of the principal.
For students graduating this school year, the community involvement requirement will be reduced to a minimum of 20 hours. This recognizes barriers to completion and encourages virtual and outdoor volunteering.
The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test remains a graduation requirement. Students can write the test in the spring or have other options to complete it.