Exams that do not count outside of Quebec

High school students are in the midst of ministerial exams in Quebec, which could shape their future. However, Francis Vailles found that these exams are often optional in English Canada and that assessment of learning seems less rigorous among Anglophones. Today, in the second part, the exams in English Canada.

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In British Columbia, the high school math exam does not count. It doesn’t change getting the degree, unlike Quebec.

‘Pfoe’, the students might say to themselves. Because according to the latest results of this exam, only 40% have reached the expected level of competence. A disaster.

This statement of the situation published by the Fraser Institute in January made me jump. Meanwhile, in Quebec, the math exam was given to students at the same level (4e secondary) accounted for half of the report mark (before the pandemic forced the cancellation). And it goes without saying that the pass rate is clearly above 40%, as this course is compulsory to obtain the diploma.(1)

Guess which of Quebec or British Columbia has the best high school graduation rate in the minimum time required? Congratulations, you won, it’s British Columbia, with 81%, against 75% in Quebec, according to Statistics Canada’s method(2)† Are you surprised?

In another analysis, the Fraser Institute compared all provinces with regard to the “standardized tests” of the various ministries of education, which are called the unique tests in Quebec.

New surprise for me: in the rest of Canada, uniform exams are often less or not required. And if they are, they count for a lesser portion of success, inevitably impacting graduation.

Examples? In Ontario it is in 9e years (3e secondary) that the Ministere evaluates skills in mathematics, not in 4e secondary, as in Quebec. Oh, and most importantly, Ontario schools are free to use the Department’s exam results to review the report or ignore them if they see fit.

We bet many don’t, since the latest news, only 44% of students enrolled in applied mathematics have passed (84% in theoretical mathematics). In Ontario, the only “standardized” test that really counts for graduation is the literacy test, in 10e year.

As I mentioned, in Quebec there are 5 exams that count (50% of the final grade), spread over 2 years: Mathematics, French, Science, English and History.

Another example: in New Brunswick, students of the French-speaking network do not yet have a central exam at the end of secondary. And for English speakers, the four ministerial exams do not count towards the final mark on the report.

We sue? There is no uniform exam offered in Saskatchewan.

The question arises: what kind of degrees do students get outside of Quebec? For years, has the absence of a ministerial exam had the same effect on graduation as it did recently in Quebec’s Anglophone network, where success exploded with the cancellation of government tests due to the pandemic (see Monday’s text)?

According to the Fraser Institute research, Alberta is the only other province, besides Quebec, that administers uniform exams to high school students in several subjects. These exams count for 30% of the final grade.

And it turns out that in recent years, the success rate in Alberta has generally been lower than elsewhere, albeit higher than Quebec.

That said, during the pandemic, Quebec decided to change the weighting of the five separate exams for the year 2022, lowering it from 50% to 20% to secondary. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will maintain this weighting for next year (2022-2023), at least according to a recent regulation.

The reduction from 50% to 20% is arbitrary, based on no research, said Nicole Monney, a professor in the Department of Educational Sciences at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi (UQAC).

mme However, Monney sees this drop in a good light, even without a pandemic, and judges that a student can be severely punished with 50% based on a single exam. “And we’re devaluing all the other work done by teachers during the year,” says Ms Van den Berg.me Monney, who is a member of one of the committees of the Supreme Education Council.

In 2018, the Governing Council nevertheless ruled that “the uniform tests have their reason to sanction studies”, but without commenting on the 50% weighting.

Anyway, m.me Monney is convinced that “the requirements in Quebec are higher than elsewhere in Canada”.

And for her part, researcher Catherine Haeck, of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), believes that with this drop from 50 to 20%, “Quebec’s graduation rate will increase, I’m sure”.

Is this a good idea, this drop? “I don’t know, but it’s important that in a few years we can access the data to assess it, which is very difficult right now,” says M.me haeck.

In light of this information, it is clear that the graduation rate of Quebec students is not as catastrophic as is often claimed. And that we have to take this into account in our government policy.

1. The same in the instruction language. The British Columbia 10 . Exame years don’t count, and this time 74% of those who passed reached the expected level, according to the Fraser Institute survey.

Clarification on the previous column

For technical reasons, the decimal point has disappeared in the 2e column of each of the two tables of the previous column published in The press† This disappearance made it impossible to properly understand the equations. Here are the tables, as they should have been published.

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