Homeschooling | Mandatory departmental exams are challenged

(Montreal) A group of Quebec parents calls for suspension of new obligation this year, which will force home-schooled children to pass ministerial exams in 4and and 6and year, as well as in 2and subordinate.

Posted at 5:45 PM

Frederic Lacroix Couture
The Canadian Press

The Quebec Association for Home Education (AQED) wants these tests to remain optional of the five possible options for annually assessing the knowledge of homeschooled children.

AQED is concerned about the impact the requirement of ministerial exams could have on these students. About half of them have been taken out of school because they have learning disabilities, disabilities or mental health problems, which the organization says cannot be adequately addressed by the mainstream education system.

After repeated unsuccessful requests, AQED says it sent a letter of formal notice to the cabinet of Education Minister Jean-François Roberge on Thursday, “asking him to intervene urgently to suspend the ministerial year-end exams”.

If nothing moves by Wednesday, a ban will be filed, says the association’s president, Marine Dumond-Després.

“The exams are coming up in the next few days, so it’s really urgent and we’re going to take it very seriously. We seem to have been very open about the impact it could have on some of our families,” she said in an interview.

The fact that these young people have to take these exams can cause anxiety, according to the AQÉD, which represents 4000 home-educated children.

“We have young people who will have to go to a school they’ve never been to, because they’ve never been to school. Young people who have been bullied – which was the reason for choosing to withdraw from school and home school – will be forced to return to the establishment where they went through severe trials,” said M.me Dumond-Despress.

Ordering some form of standardized assessment for these students who experience particular particularities gives a “biased result” because it doesn’t match the way the education was delivered, believes Mme Dumond-Despress.

“Having a choice allowed parents to choose the most appropriate type of assessment based on their child’s profile. The fact of imposing (the ministerial exams), it amounts to denying the parent’s choice to homeschool using alternative pedagogy,” she argues.

Documents to prepare homeschooled students for ministerial tests have been provided, but the AQED considers them “inadequate”

Other annual assessment options available to families under the homeschooling policy include using a private school assessor or submitting a portfolio to the Department.

The entry into force of the requirement for ministerial examinations results from an amendment to the regulation. One of Quebec’s arguments in favor of this change is to ensure that students follow the Quebec school’s training program, said Mr.me Dumond-Despress.

But according to her, parents already fill out a lot of documentation throughout the year so that the ministry can monitor the progress of learning.

AQED also regrets the fact that the ministerial tests in secondary 4 and 5 count for 100% of the final grade for home-educated young people. She asks that the weighting be equal to that of the schools network.

The association estimates that more than 10,000 children are homeschooled in Quebec, but does not know how many young people will be affected by the requirement to take the ministerial exams.

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This article was produced with financial support from the Meta Fellowships and The Canadian Press for News.

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