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Grade 10 and 11 Provincial Exams

Many teachers worry that the new Graduation Program makes it harder for our most vulnerable students to graduate. Grade 10 has been added to the Graduation Program. There are also five new provincial exams in Grades 10 and 11:

  • Language Arts 10 (or Francais langue 10)
  • Science 10
  • Mathematics 10 (Essentials, Applications, or Principles)
  • Social Studies 11 (Social Studies 11, Civics 11, or First Nations Studies 12)
  • Language Arts 12 (or Francais langue 12)

There continues to be provincial exams in 20 Grade 12 courses but students have a choice about whether to take the course with or without the exam. If they choose to take the course without the exam, their mark is based entirely on their school mark. For students who write Grade 12 provincial exams, the exams continue to count for 40% of their mark.

The new exams count for 20% of the student’s mark
The new provincial exams in Grades 10 and 11 count for 20% of the student’s mark, rather than 40% as on Grade 12 provincial exams. It is possible for a student to fail the exam and still pass the course if the blended school mark (80%) and exam mark (20%) results in a passing grade. Students must take and pass these courses in order to graduate but do not necessarily need to pass the exams in order to graduate. However, students must sit the exam.

The exams and other changes to the graduation requirements make it harder for students to graduate.
Teachers are concerned that the addition of Grade 10 to the graduation program, the requirement for a graduation portfolio, and the introduction of the Grade 10 and 11 exams, taken together, will have a negative effect on our most vulnerable students and perhaps increase their dropout rate.

English 10 and Science 10 are more difficult courses than the easiest of the choices at Grade 11 and 12. For example, English 10 is more difficult than Communications 11 or 12. And Science 10 (and probably Science 9) is more difficult than Science and Technology 11. In the past, some students failed English 10 or Science 10 (or only passed modified versions of those courses) and were allowed to move on the communications and science and technology (because there are no prerequisites) and graduate with Dogwood certificates. These students must now pass the prescribed English 10 and Science 10, and write exams in both. The bar is now significantly higher at Grade 10 than at Grade 12.

The long answer portions of the new exams must be marked locally
The ministry revised the School Act Regulation 265/89 to add "marking required provincial exams" to the duties of teachers. Currently, the ministry has only implemented this for English 10 and Social Studies 11 exams.

Grade 12 exams continue to be marked provincially by teachers who apply and receive remuneration. Grade 10 science and math exams are machine scored provincially, as are the multiple choice sections of the Language Arts 10 and Social Studies 11 exams.

Ten to 15% of the locally marked exams are re-marked provincially to check on reliability. If the ministry finds significant discrepancies between local and provincial marking, it will NOT be changing students’ marks but it will be contacting the districts about making adjustments through training, etc.

The ministry does not require districts to provide training for teachers marking Grade 10 exams locally, or require teachers to attend the training, but the ministry encourages such training through funding. The ministry enters into contacts with districts to provide funding for training. There are no rules about how the district organizes the training but the funding is based on $200 per school offering the course (a release day for one teacher per course per school) plus $500 (to cover meeting rooms and food).

Teachers who want to express their opposition to the exams and local marking can use the protest letter on the BCTF web site and mark under protest. Sometimes departments send these letters as a group.

May 15, 2006

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