Provincial exams are going ahead as usual this week in School District 43 despite the ongoing teacher's labour dispute.
Beginning today, Tuesday, 4,000 high school students across the district began writing Math 10, English 10 and 12, Social Studies 11, Communication 12 and Science 10 exams.
But teachers aren't handing out the tests or marking them.
Instead, hundreds of managers plus elementary, middle and secondary school principals will be doing the job of registering students, invigilating and marking the exams, according to school superintendent Tom Grant.
"Our CTA (Coquitlam Teachers Association) has said, the essential services order, set out by Labour Relations Board during the labour dispute allows them not to be involved in provincial exams," Grant said.
To get the job done, every administrator in the district will be asked to help out with marking the exams so that the provincial deadline can be met and students will get their marks on time.
"I don't want to go into the second semester with this hanging over our heads," Grant said.
After the tests are written, administrators will get an introductory training session, and then get down to the business of exam grading on Friday. "We are going to bring all of our administrators together and mark them as a team," Grant said, noting that many administrators have English, Social Studies and Science degrees, making them qualified to do the marking. They will also have a template to guide them, he said.
Managers who are not teachers will be registering students for exams, he said.
FINAL MARKS ON HOLD FOR SOME
Grade 12 students should be able to get their final grades from the Ministry of Education, which will blend classroom and final exam marks for the final grade. But it may take awhile before students in Grade 10 and 11 get their final grade.
Grant said the younger students will get their provincial exam marks separately from their classroom marks, which are being "warehoused" and distributed by their teacher. But since there is currently no mechanism for blending the marks, the final grade won't be available until after the labour dispute.
"They'll know what it will look like, but they won't get a formal report," Grant said.
He also said in cases where students need a grade before moving onto the next course in the second semester, teachers will pass on the information to counsellors in time for scheduling.
Meanwhile, administrators are also being pulled away from their regular duties to prepare, invigilate and mark Foundation Skills Assessment exams written by Grade 4 and 7 students to provide a snapshot of student learning from now through February.
Managers and principals are also covering recess during the labour dispute.
Report cards going home to younger students won't have much information again this term except for the name of their teacher(s) and attendance. In cases where administrators taught a course, grades will be available.
Letters informing parents of the situation are going home with students this week.