Should Alberta diploma exams be worth less?

EDMONTON – A motion, put forward by a Leduc Catholic school division, suggests Alberta diploma exams should be worth 30 per cent of the final course grade.

The exams currently make up 50 per cent of the final mark.

On Tuesday, the Edmonton Public School Board will decide where it stands on the motion.

The issue will be discussed at an Alberta School Boards Association meeting on Nov. 17 which will include all school boards in the province.

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If accepted, the motion would call for other work done throughout the semester carry more weight towards the final course grade, and the diploma exam carry less weight.

The Edmonton Catholic Division said it won’t decide where it stands on the issue prior to the Nov. 17 ASBA meeting.

The province would have final say in the diploma weighting decision.

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Alberta Education says diploma exams are an important milestone in making sure students are ready to graduate or attend post-secondary.

“Albertans expect students to be assessed fairly, objectively, and in a way that ensures they are prepared for the next phase in their education,” a spokesperson for the ministry told Global News.

“Alberta’s Grade 12 core courses – such as English, Math and the Sciences – are respected across Canada and the world. Part of the reason for that is the impartial nature of diploma exams.”

There have been discussions in the past about how much weight diploma exams should carry, with some parents suggesting they should be worth no more than 25 per cent of the final course grade.

In a 2013 column in the Hinton Voice, a Grade 12 student discussed the “injustice of these diploma exams” and “the obscenity of their weight.”

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