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Pandemic prompts some Ontario boards to scrap plans for high school final exams this year

December 04, 2020

Original Article:

Some Ontario school boards, including several in the Greater Toronto Area, will not hold final exams for high school students this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), for example, has decided there will be no final exams for its quadmester 1 and 2 classes, but it has not yet made a decision for its quadmester 3 and 4 classes, according to TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird. 

Final marks for quadmester 1 and 2 will be based on coursework and an in-class end-of-quadmester assessment, he said.  Bird said the TDSB chose to cancel exams "given the exceptional circumstance with the pandemic and the complexities of running exams in both a virtual and in-person setting."

According to the TDSB, the Ontario Ministry of Education has told school boards that they can remove designated exam days from their school year calendar and use them for in-class instructional time.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), for its part, said the ministry indicated in a memo last week that it would be up to the boards themselves to determine whether to require a 30 per cent final evaluation as part of a final mark and whether an exam needs to be part of that final evaluation.
"We have decided to maintain the 70/30 split between course work and the final evaluation. Although schools may decide to have exams for all courses, it is not required," the board said in an email.

The TCDSB has decided its "culminating task" may be a combination of exam, performance or essay.

The Peel District School Board, meanwhile, will also not be holding final exams. The announcement was made in its Reopening Plans Family Guide, shared with families at the start of the school year.

As for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, its students will be doing "culminating performance tasks" instead of exams this year.

Caitlin Clark, spokesperson for the Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, said the province has decided more flexibility is needed this school year.


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