DSBN to cancel exams, Niagara Catholic to stay the course

·2 min read

Students in Niagara are facing two ways of completing their courses.

District School Board of Niagara’s secondary school schedule, which lists Jan. 27 to Feb. 2 as exam days, will now be replaced with “culminating activities.”

Helen McGregor, superintendent of secondart shool curriculum and student achievement, said, “Students are learning differently this year, with many learning in-person for part of the week, and others learning exclusively online.

“To ensure all our students are supported to find success this year, whether they are learning in-person or online, in October we made the decision to cancel exams,” said McGregor. “Schools have already let students know that they will not have exams and, instead, they will have culminating activities.”

In contrast, Niagara Catholic District School Board has already administered two sets of exams, Oct. 9 and Nov. 13, with a third one to be completed on Dec. 18.

Niagara Catholic’s back-to-school plan split students into two cohorts. Those cohorts will be focused on one course for 22 days. Upon completion of the course, exams are administered.

Board communications officer Jennifer Pellegrini said, “… we are octomestered, students do their exam right at the end of their course — so there aren’t set exam days as other boards have. It’s 22 days of class, then an exam/assessment, then off to the next course.”

In October, the Ministry of Education told school boards they have the option to remove designated exam days from their school year calendar and use them for in-class instructional time.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the use of essays or report-based assessments in the place of final exams should be allowed “given the circumstance.”

“I don’t want to increase the anxiety of our students. An essay, an extended report, these are all ways in which an educator can credibly assess the performance of a student.”

The holiday break for students is to begin Dec. 21 and will last until students return to the classroom on Jan. 4.

Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: svanderklis@metroland.com

Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review