Lightened tests, weighting down revised

Pupils from primary and secondary education are now rejoining the exams of the ministry, which have been canceled for two years now. They are working on tests with less content and which will be less important for the note on the report.

Posted at 5:00 am

Marie-Eve Morasse

Marie-Eve Morasse
The press

Whether in Mathematics, French, History, Science or English, the mandatory tests students submit this year will have the particularity of being “attuned to the learning process that must be prioritized”, confirms the Ministry of Education.

Because of the pandemic, the government has been selecting essential knowledge for two years that teachers should prioritize “to take student progress to the next level”.

In both primary and secondary schools, it is these doctrines that are the focus of the Ministry’s compulsory examinations.

“Because the teachers relied on this knowledge, [le ministère de l’Éducation] had to adjust the ministerial tests so that the students didn’t end up with content they hadn’t seen in depth,” explains Nicole Monney, a professor in the Department of Educational Sciences at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi.

Shortened Basic Exams

The Ministry of Education mentions the example of the reading test in the fourth year of primary school. Instead of evaluating two types of text in French as usual (a current text and a literary text), this year students only have to read one.

In the sixth year, the duration of the math test is shortened and takes place over three days instead of five. “These are still good tests that take a total of 4.5 hours. It’s tough,” notes Professor Nicole Monney.

Adapting exams to learning isn’t a race to the bottom, she adds. Because even by specifying to the teachers what the ‘indispensable’ knowledge of a school year is, they approach others. mme Monney cites mathematics as an example, where learning multiplication has an effect on learning to add.

In high school, the Ministry of Education indicates that it has not shortened the length of the exams, but confirms that the math and science tests had to be adapted to match the learning process that should be prioritized.

A lower weighting

The pandemic will have made it possible to revise these often-criticized single tests, but will make it difficult to compare them with the results obtained by students in previous years. Because in addition to the content, the weighting of these exams has also decreased considerably.

Exams that count for 50% of the final grade, as they did before the pandemic, “are questionable,” Nicole Monney estimates.

First, you have to consider that if a student is not in top shape on the day of an exam, he will play for a good part of his year if the weighting is too high. In addition, the professor points out that school environments are not all equal: just think of underprivileged environments or public and private networks, she says.

“Is the student in a weaker class? Did his teacher get sick after four months and did he have three replacements? ” illustrates the professor, according to who by lowering the weight of these exams, they become fairer for everyone.

For the sake of justice for the cohorts who embarked on their school trip during the pandemic, the government cannot afford to go back in the coming years, Money.

A draft regulation being studied in Quebec plans to keep the test weighting low for the 2022-2023 school year. “In addition to these adjustments, the return to the usual school organization is proposed,” said the Ministry of Education.

mme Monney recalls that at the base these year-end tests were set up to have a “portrait of Quebec”, to compare the regions, the schools, in order to better allocate the resources of the educational environment.

Resources available to students

In secondary education, the exams of the Ministry of Education have started since the beginning of May and will last until the end of June. They start on Tuesday for primary school students. At the Alloprof organization, we notice that as these exams approach, “there’s a bit of excitement” among both students and their parents. “We must remember that these exams are not surprises or questions that come out of a hat: we look at what has been learned over the year,” reassures Annie Harvey, word from Alloprof. Traditionally, the number of calls to Alloprof increases as the ministry exams approach. But Annie Harvey reminds us that we are still at the beginning of this series of tests. “We know that young people don’t prepare in advance…” she laughs. Nevertheless, the organization is ready: since mid-March we have answered the questions of 60,000 students.

More information user manual

  • 20%
    Weighting of tests in primary and secondary two pre-pandemic

    Source: Ministry of Education

    Weighting exams primary and secondary two in 2022

    Source: Ministry of Education

  • 50%
    Weighting of Pre-pandemic Fourth and Fifth Secondary Tests

    Source: Ministry of Education

    Weighting exams Secondary IV and V in 2022

    Source: Ministry of Education

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