Cancel All Alberta Grade 12 Diplomas

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As many of you may have learned, the Government of Alberta has closed all K-12 schools until further notice. The intent of this province wide shut down of schools and daycare facilities is to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus/Covid-19, declared a pandemic Wednesday by the WHO. According to the Chief Medical Officer of Alberta, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, school closure policies are only effective if implemented for long periods of time; in a press conference prior to the announcement of school closures, Hinshaw states “If we do make the decision to close schools, it will be considering long term closure. This pandemic will not end in a matter of weeks, and there will not be a clear opportunity to reopen schools likely until September at the earliest." This closure, although clearly warranted and justified has many consequences for students in Alberta- particularly Grade 12 students who are still “expected to write the diploma” according to the Alberta government website. Without in-class instruction by teachers, students may find it quite a challenge to learn new subject material and do well on the demanding provincial diploma. Besides Alberta, few provinces hold provincial examinations that account for 30% of a student’s final mark. The diploma examination is debatably an effective measure of student understanding when circumstances are normal, it is certainly not an effective method to measure student understanding of curriculum when the data has the potential to be so gravely skewed (due to school closures), this is why we urge our Education Minister and premier Jason Kenney to re-examine the need for diplomas. We urge the Government of Alberta’s Education ministry to exempt students from Grade 12 Diploma exams this June in light of the announced school closures.

Students should be exempted from writing the provincial diploma, especially as schools are limited in their ability to fulfil the obligation to teach students curriculum as outlined in “The School Act” as a result of these new limitations.

The ministry of education must explore an effective solution to diplomas, and how these relate to post secondary applications as well- ensuring that students have a smooth transition to post secondary even if diplomas are cancelled is the responsibility of our elected officials and ministry administration.

Our ask is logical:

If examinations are a way to assess learning, it is simply imprudent to close centres of learning(schools), yet continue to assess learning by holding diplomas.

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