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Staff shortage cancels B.C. high school exams but Tri-City students will graduate on time: ministry

Ministry of Education is working with post-secondary schools to make sure the cancellation of January exams won't affect future education plans of B.C. students
Cancellation of Grade 12 Literacy exams due to COVID-19 related staffing issues won't affect student graduation, assures the Ministry of Education.

Staffing issues — not COVID-19 safety concerns — in schools is the reason grade 10 and 12 literacy and numeracy exams were cancelled in B.C. schools.

In an email, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education confirmed that the decision was made in January to cancel exams because of staffing concerns.

"Over the past few months, the administration of grade 10 to 12 provincial assessments has been impacted significantly by Ministry of Education and e-assessment service provider work force capacity issues related to COVID-19," stated the ministry in an email to the Tri-City News.

Hundreds of Coquitlam-area students in grades 10 and 12 were slated to take the exams beginning Monday, Jan. 24.

The assessments for for Grade 10 Literacy, Grade 10 Numeracy and Grade 12 Literacy are graduation requirements for B.C. students and provide an "external standardized measure of individual student learning," according to School District 43, which has already let students know about the test cancellation.

The ministry confirmed that cancellation of the exams won't affect students seeking to confirm acceptance at post-secondary institutions.

"The ministry has worked diligently with post-secondary institutions and education partners to ensure that post-secondary admissions will not be impacted by these unexpected changes," the ministry states.

Approximately 250 to 500 students across the province slated to graduate early are affected by the cancelled tests, although exact numbers won't be known until all data is collected.

It's not known how many Tri-City grads are affected.

Students who are not graduating early will have an opportunity to complete these assessments at a future session, currently scheduled for April and June.

An update on future assessments will be provided by the Ministry of Education by mid-February.

Future dates are available in the B.C. Graduation Handbook and students and families who have questions are encouraged to reach out to their school administration.

"We want to assure everyone that all Grade 12 students will graduate on time, both for early graduation and June graduation, as long as all other graduation requirements are met," the ministry stated.

This is the first time these exams have been cancelled and the ministry said it "did not take the decision lightly."

As well, the decision was not based on the safety of B.C. schools but for staffing reasons only, the email stated.

In a letter, SD43 reassured parents that prior to the cancellation of the January exams, schools were prepared to conduct the tests in a safe manner.

"This announcement was not anticipated by our school or our school district. Plans were in place to carry out these assessments in a safe manner and according to the timeline published by the ministry last school year."