The early days of June are a reminder for many high school students that final exams are looming.
However, this year has a difference. Grade 12 BC provincial exams are now optional for Yukon students, which puts them in line with their BC counterparts.
While this decision by our Department of Education to move in stride with BC seems reasonable, putting all students on equal footing, the footing may not be rock solid.
We may be creating two distinct classes of Grade 12 academics: those who write and those who don’t. Teaching styles could be different for both groups. Those who write will have to follow curriculum to the fullest, as it will be reflected in a final exam.
Those who don’t may be less restricted, as all marks will be teacher-driven.
I certainly don’t fault our Department of Education for the decision it had to make.
However, I would lay much fault on the BC Ministry of Education, first for making a Grade 12 exam worth 40 per cent of the total mark. Not many students will risk writing a final exam with this weight if it is not necessary.
Had these mandatory exams been worth 20 per cent, the risk would be less and the mark would better reflect a cumulative learning experience.
As a comparison of two students with the same final grade, I’ll take more stock in the student who wrote a BC provincial.