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Changes Coming to Final Evaluations for Secondary Students Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this a school year unlike any other, and now new guidelines around culminating assessments will make exam season look different as well, with Grand Erie working to ensure common and equitable grading practices in tune with the times.

“These guidelines have been modified to reflect changes made by the Ministry of Education in terms of the assessment and evaluation of student learning, and recognize the current circumstances educators, students and families are navigating,” said Denise Martins, Superintendent responsible for Grand Erie’s Secondary Program. “These are exceptional times, with significant changes to how the school year is structured and the modes of delivering curriculum learning, so flexibility and responsiveness are crucial.”

The changes mean that previously scheduled examination dates on the 2020-21 school calendar will now become Credit Rescue/Culminating Activity assessment days for each quadmester. Final grades will be based on a combination of evaluation conducted throughout the course and a summative evaluation based on a culminating activity worth up to 10 per cent of the mark. Teachers can provide a broad range of culminating activity options, or combination of options, including essays, a performance or presentation, the creation of a project, report, lab demonstration, etc., appropriate to the course.

“The intent of the culminating activity is to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their overall learning in the course,” said Martins. “Final marks will be reflective of the whole quadmester’s work including the culminating activity.”

Changes to Secondary Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting 2020-21:

  • There will be no formal midterm reports, but teachers will share “marks to date” with senior students who are at risk of not earning a credit, and their parents/guardians, so that decisions can be made regarding full disclosure and withdrawal from courses.
  • Course withdrawal dates are determined based on completion of 75 per cent of the total course hours, and will be communicated to students, parents/guardians.
  • For students graduating this school year, the community involvement requirement will be reduced to a minimum of 20 hours, recognizing barriers to completion and encouraging virtual and outdoor volunteering options.
  • Exceptions to the breakdown of final marks will be considered for students who experienced delays in accessing internet connections or technology devices for online learning; students impacted by bus cancellations; students directed by the public health unit to self-isolate; or other extenuating circumstances at the discretion of the principal.

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