AMDSB chooses to cancel exams for 2020-21 school year

·2 min read

HURON-PERTH – When the Ministry of Education let all Ontario school boards know they had the option of cancelling formal examinations, the Avon Maitland District Board (AMDSB), in line with many neighbouring boards, made the decision to do so.

“We believe the many challenges of the pandemic and the possibility we may need to do a very quick shift to a different school day model may impact exams, and given the challenge of up to 30 per cent of some marks being associated with examinations, this puts much pressure on the time to do these exams,” said Superintendent of Program Services Kate Creery. “We believe that ongoing assessment and evaluation, rather than high-stakes examinations, is better for students and student learning.”

The cancellation of exams and 30 per cent of culminating tasks will have no impact on the delivery of the curriculum in this 2020-21 school year. While in some classes it is normal for there to be no final examination, a final evaluation does not need to be an examination. It could include one or a combination of the following: a performance, an essay, a written or another method of evaluation suitable to the course content.

“Assessment and evaluation are on-going throughout the courses, right from the beginning of the course, regardless of quadmester or semester models,” said Creery. “The tests and assignments that teachers are giving students should be used as an assessment for learning. Report marks should demonstrate the most recent, most consistent assessment of student learning.”

What effect do you think these changes to the learning process will have on students?

According to Creery, teachers will provide a broad range of culminating activities allowing students to most effectively “show what they really know.”

“At AMDSB we are hearing from many stakeholder groups about the impact of these changes on students and student learning,” she said. “What students have said most consistently is that they know that these changes to how school looks are necessary and that health and safety need to come first because of COVID-19.”

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner