A damning new report from the provincial ombudsperson says B.C.'s Ministry of Education misled students and the public and did not have proper checks and balances in place when thousands of Grade 12 students were issued incorrect transcripts in 2019.
In the 50-page document entitled Course Correction:The Ministry of Education 2019 Provincial Exam Errors, Jay Chalke says the ministry should issue an apology and financially compensate those who were affected by the mistakes.
Chalke says the problems began when two tabulation errors resulted in the ministry posting incorrect exam results for 18,741 students who wrote provincial exams in June 2019.
"Students with high course marks were upset to see failing exam marks; conversely, students with lower course marks saw high exam marks, only to find out later that they had not done as well as had initially been posted," says the report.
The incorrect transcripts that resulted from the mistakes led to significant issues and stress for many students applying for post-secondary schools and scholarships.
The report found that more than 100,000 potentially incorrect transcripts were received by post-secondary institutions before the errors were corrected.
Chalke says the ministry compounded the problems by making statements that downplayed or dismissed concerns.
"The ministry went so far as to publicly reassure students that they did not have to worry that they might be impacted," he wrote.
"The ministry implied publicly that post-secondary institutions throughout North America had provided assurances that students would not be impacted, when, in fact, at the time the ministry made this statement only one institution had given that assurance."
A statement from a ministry spokesperson said steps have been taken to address the problems and ensure they don't happen again.
"We know that this situation was stressful for students and their parents when it happened," it said.
The report makes six recommendations, including establishing a compensation fund and improving quality assurance and communication protocols within the ministry.