LETTER: Exam impact

We can expect many announcements from government designed to please special-interest groups ...

We are now in the one-year period leading to a provincial election. We can expect many announcements from government designed to please special-interest groups while sacrificing the best interests of the province.

The latest report concerns a reduction in provincial examinations before graduation. Reducing accountability panders to the teachers’ union but negatively impacts students in many ways.

Students achieve at higher levels in school systems with end-of-year examinations which are given consistently to all students and marked anonymously in a centralized marking site with constant reviews of markers’ performance.

Grade inflation is significantly reduced when graduation exams punctuate the school career. A university study demonstrated that B.C.’s grade inflation from classroom teachers is approximately 20 per cent. In other words, students with a B mark actually perform at a C level when the same test is given to all.

Graduation exams are a messenger in the system indicating how well schools are performing, which creates anxiety because of the increased accountability and transparency. Therefore, their solution is to kill the messenger.

Students likely are relieved by the government’s announcement because their pressure to pursue academic excellence is reduced. Only when they have been shown the research do they understand how they are being cheated by fraudulent marking programs not including common assessments with anonymous marking systems.

Bluntly, this latest government announcement is about vote counting and winning the approval of special interests. Educators, who comprise three per cent of voters, can vote but their students cannot.

Jim Dueck