Math, history and science exams: 30 per cent more failures in 2012
Published Friday, July 20, 2012 10:18PM EDT
MONTREAL—Parents and students are baffled over the latest results of provincial high school exams.
The Lester B. Pearson School Board says it saw a 30 per cent increase in the failure rate for grades 10 and 11 math, history and science exams. The school board is left scratching its head, it doesn’t know what happened.
“We all thought we did really well because we were all really prepared for it,” said Autumn Darey, a grade 10 student who failed her math and history exams. “How can I fail history? I am a history student who gets awards for history and tutors other children.”
Quebec’s grade 10 history exam is a prerequisite for students to graduate from high school. The 2012 exam was the first standardized edition given to students in nearly a decade. Schools were allowed to write their own exams since 2000 while a far-reaching reform of the province’s curriculum moved through schools.
Written by a committee of teachers and administrators in Quebec City, the exams were the first given for grade 10 students brought up under the reform.
While Darey was shocked by her failure—she said that history was her favourite subject and she received 80s on her report card—other students were equally baffled.
“Honestly, it was really hard,” said Kayla Bakos.
While no one knows the “why” for the 30 per cent increase in failures, the chairman of the Pearson School Board has a theory.
“Can I speculate? Listen the curriculum reform has just hit all the high school levels and the courses have changed—so if students were using old exams to study for this exam—they'll find it was different,” said chairman Suanne Stein Day.
With her daughter studying through the summer for a second exam, Darey’s mother faulted the province’s ministry of education and called for Quebec City to rethink how it writes and marks exams.
“If all those kids failed then there's something wrong with the test, it's not something wrong with the kids,” said Chrystal Henderson.
Quebec’s Ministry of Education and Sport couldn’t provide CTV Montreal with a copy of the 2012 exam or comment on why students seemed to struggle this year.