Nunavut high schools to put more weight on classroom work, less on exams
GN hoping to graduate more self-reliant Nunavummiut
In an effort to more accurately assess student achievement, Nunavut’s education department has reduced the weight it gives to Grade 12 Alberta exams.
Until now, Grade 12 exams have made up 50 per cent of a student’s final mark. Under the change, Alberta departmental exams will now constitute only 30 per cent, the department announced Dec. 21.
And classroom studies, once valued at 50 per cent of a final mark, will now be weighted at 70 per cent.
“This change supports the government vision and mandate to have more well-educated and self-reliant Nunavummiut graduate from high school, with the same level of capability as anywhere in Canada,” said Paul Quassa, Nunavut’s education minister, in the Dec. 21 release.
Nunavut uses Alberta curriculum in its schools, including Alberta Grade 12 exams, as a final assessment of secondary students.
In September 2015, Alberta’s education department made the same shift in how its exams were weighted.
The move to put a stronger emphasis on classroom assessment follows a movement in many other regions in Canada.
The shift is designed to offer students “multiple and varied opportunities to demonstrate achievement and lead to deeper learning.”
As part of a 2013 analysis of Nunavut’s education system, the Auditor General found large discrepancies between the marks that Grade 12 graduates received from writing their mandatory exams versus the classroom marks given by teachers.
“On average, we found that for the three school years we tested, the classroom grade was 26 per cent higher than the standardized test grade. For the 2010–11 school year, the difference was 30 percent,” the report said.
In another northern jurisdiction — Whitehorse, Yukon — the difference was only four per cent.
“We found that the department has not conducted an analysis to understand these discrepancies,” the auditor’s report said.
This means the education department does not know if students are properly prepared in the classroom, if mother tongue language is an issue, or if teachers get adequate support, the report noted.