Grade 10 provincial exams eliminated

Students, teachers support changes that mean only two Grade 12 tests will be written

  • Jun. 2, 2016 8:00 p.m.

Break time between classes at Samuel Robertson Technical school is a busy time.

The elimination of three of the five high school provincial exams is being met with a generally positive reaction from students from the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District.

As part of the new changes to the provincial curriculum, B.C. students will write two final exams in their Grade 12 year, testing for literacy and numeracy. Three Grade 10 exams are being eliminated.

That’s good news, says Grade 10 student Sydney Stephen of Pitt Meadows secondary. She said facing examination by the provincial government made for a stressful year for the teen and her friends. What’s more, she questions how valuable the results really are.

“I don’t think it’s fair to judge people by a number,” she said. “And everyone learns at different paces. I don’t think that provincial exams are a true way of showing how people learn.”

Stephen would eliminate the remaining Grade 12 government tests, too, and have students graded by the teachers, based on their work in the classroom.

“Personally, I don’t like the whole provincial exam. There’s so many more ways – like leadership skills and different things that show who you are as a person, rather than your numbers.”

Brandon Smith, a Grade 11 at Thomas Haney secondary, had mixed feelings about eliminating the exams.

“It means less work for us, which is kind of nice. But at the same time, they are still a good way to see how you’ve done,” he said.

“The Grade 10 ones are very stressful. Having three in a very short amount of time – it’s a lot of studying.”

Smith agreed teachers do tend to “teach to the exam,” to some extent, based on their knowledge of past exams.

He hopes to be university bound, and said post-secondary institutions can still gauge admissions from the marks teachers give their students.

“Which is almost nicer, because it’s not a test for the entire of the year – you can demonstrate your learning in a lot of different ways,” said Smith.

There’s relief at the earlier grades.

“I like the changes, because I think it’s less stress in the younger grades,” said Maple Ridge secondary Grade 8 student Kaelen Coles-Lyster. “I think it’s good having them in Grade 12, so then you have that work in the older grades, to prepare for university.”

School district superintendent Sylvia Russell appreciates the philosophical shift away from Grade 10 provincials.

“I’m not sorry to see some of the Grade 10 exams go because we know that for some of our students, those are real barrier exams,” she said. “Grade 10 is one of those ages where, as educators, we see kids sometimes lacking the maturity to succeed with that hurdle at the end of the school year.

“A change is good for us on this front.”

The BCTF supports the changes, and Maple Ridge Teachers’ Association president George Serra said it eliminates a barrier that had prevented some kids from graduating.

He said the tests had “tied teachers’ hands” in how they approached Grade 10.

“You don’t want to teach to a test, but if you known that so much hinges on provincial exams for your students, how could you not?” he said.

“The majority of folks see this as a good thing.”

Serra said there is always public “anxiety about accountability” that is satisfied by government exams. So retaining the graduating year tests is “a good middle ground.”

School board chair Mike Murray noted that former School District No. 42 superintendent Jan Unwin is working for the education ministry on a new way to do university admissions, working with post-secondary institutions on how best to assess students for entrance.

Murray, too, supports the elimination of the Grade 10 exams, because they were too much of a focus for teachers.

“Now the system can be teaching kids how to investigate, solve problems and all the things they will need to be able to do to be successful in this world,” he said.

The change is part of B.C.’s new curriculum, which intends to “teach students the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic in a way that connects them to collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills they will need to succeed after high school,” said the ministry.

The curriculum will be fully implemented in the K-to-9 years this fall, and will be available in draft for teachers to use for grades 10-12 at the same time.

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows blueberry farm ordered to pay $131,000 to foreign workers

Golden Eagle Blueberry Farms also penalized $500

Ridge search team finds lost children

Brother, sister were stranded overnight on Burke Mountain

LETTERS: ‘New route to 240th St. not so apparent’

Thornhill is ‘old urban reserve’

Maple Ridge downtown association hands out favourite business awards

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News wins in trades and services category.

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Fraser Valley chef sentenced to seven years for million-dollar drug operation

Raymon Ranu has been working as a cook since he was arrested for selling fentanyl and cocaine

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

Man pleads guilty in Surrey crash that killed two Abbotsford women

Sarah Dhillon and Paige Nagata died following head-on collision on Nov. 4, 2018

Most Read