Diploma exam weighting to be reduced to 20% this school year, says Alberta government
The Alberta government announced Monday it's making a temporary change to diploma exams this year by reducing the weight of the tests to 20 per cent.
In a statement, the government said the decision was made in response to feedback from students, parents and education partners about learning loss and well-being issues as a result of the pandemic.
"Since June of this year, I have met with over 40 public, separate and francophone school authorities and many other stakeholders and listened to their perspectives," said Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange.
"Changing the weight of diploma exams will reduce the burden on students while still giving them valuable exam writing experience. We're making this temporary change to place less of a burden on students and improve their mental health."
The weighting will return to 30 per cent in the 2023-24 school year.
For the 2021-22 school year, the government cancelled January diploma exams, and all remaining diploma exams for the year were weighted at 10 per cent.
A 'backward-facing' decision
In a statement, the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) said that reducing the weighting of the exams is only a temporary solution to a long-term problem.
The ATA said it welcomed the decision to reduce the weighting of diploma examination marks in 2022–23, but also called it "backward-facing."
"The reduction of diploma exams is a stop-gap measure and, sadly, we have seen this move before," read the statement.
"To truly address missed learning opportunities, the government needs to address the conditions of the classroom: smaller classes, more supports, additional teachers and educational assistants, and, finally, make diplomas optional."
In spring 2020, diploma exams were cancelled in April and June because students were learning from home for the last few months of the school year. They were administered in August of that year.
In 2015, the government reduced diploma exam weighting from 50 to 30 per cent.