By Staphanie Tang, November 27 2014 —
Grade 12 diploma exams could have a smaller impact on students’ grades after the Alberta School Board Association (ASBA) voted to reduce the exams’ weighting from 50 to 30 per cent. ASBA will motion to lower the worth of diploma exams to the provincial government next month.
Alberta is the only province that weights Grade 12 final exams at 50 per cent, the highest in Canada.
ASBA call the diploma exams model outdated, saying it no longer reflects the goals set by Alberta Education. The model hasn’t been revised in 30 years.
Education Minister Gordon Dirks spoke to ASBA at their convention on Tuesday, Nov. 18. He was quoted by CTV Edmonton as saying he doesn’t have a personal opinion on the issue.
“Other than to say that all of us — trustees, teachers, parents — are all concerned that we have an appropriate accountability and assessment framework for our students and our graduating high school students,” Dirks said.
Teachers and board members believe change is necessary to ease pressure off high school students and to bring the model into line with Alberta Education’s curriculum re-design initiative.
School boards showed overwhelming support for the change. Eighty-two per cent of boards voted in favour of the reduction.
ASBA says Albertan students are disadvantaged compared to students from provinces where diploma exams have a lower weight, and coursework done throughout the semester has a bigger impact on a final grade.