Grade 12 students in Alberta won't have to take final diploma exams this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange announced on Twitter Tuesday that students and their parents can choose if they want to write exams in October and November as part of the province's school re-entry plan.
"If a student writes a Diploma Exam, it will still be worth 30% of their final mark," LaGrange wrote. "I will continue monitoring the situation, and will make decisions on future iterations of the Diploma Exam as we approach their administrations."
There are some circumstances where students need to write diploma exams, such as home education students if required by a post-secondary institution, or students who do not have a passing mark from their teacher. Students are encouraged to talk to their teachers about writing diploma exams.
"As we continue to listen to students, parents and education partners, it’s clear that some students may not feel comfortable or be in the best position to write exams at this time," wrote Colin Aitchison, press secretary for the Minister of Education, in an email to the Gazette.
"We know these are challenging times, and that’s why we want to ensure students and their parents have the flexibility to make the best decision for their own situation this exam season. We will of course continue to monitor how the school year progresses, and make decisions on the remaining exams prior to them being written."
Grade 12 diploma exams are used to certify the level of individual student achievement in selected courses, ensure province-wide standards of achievement are maintained, and report individual and group results, according to the province.
The decision comes after Edmonton Public Schools passed a motion during the Oct. 6 board meeting to write a letter to the Minister of Education to advocate for the suspension of diploma exams and provincial achievement tests for the 2020-2021 school year.
"It is not clear if diploma exams will offer a meaningful measure of student achievement amongst the uncertainty and disruption of the current school year. In fact, students may have their learning impacted by additional stress, an online learning environment, isolation requirements and changes in teaching staff," the recommendation report reads.
More to come.
We have been clear that we are committed to updating our school re-entry plan as necessary.— Adriana LaGrange (@AdrianaLaGrange) October 13, 2020
As such, I have made the decision to allow students and their parents to choose if they write Diploma Exams in October/November. #abed #ableg 1/2 https://t.co/P6w0qWVnpF