February 4, 2016 5:01 pm
Updated: February 5, 2016 12:36 pm

‘My university failed’: Université de Moncton student criticizes institution

Corina Stiles is pictured here in front of the Université de Moncton campus in Moncton, N.B.

Contributed/Corina Stiles

With the prospect of staying and teaching in New Brunswick, Anglophone Corina Stiles started the Groupe Pont at the Université de Moncton in 2013.

The year-long program is designed to prepare English-speaking students for immersion in the completely Francophone university.

However, three years into her Primary Education degree, Stiles said she was asked to end her studies, claiming the university failed her and 17 other students.

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“I am very frustrated by the actions they chose to deal with the situation. It upsets me, and just, I mean, a lot of frustration,” Stiles told Global News Thursday.

Stiles recently failed her third attempts at a French language competency test, something that is required of every student who attends Université de Moncton.

She spoke out about it on her personal website.

Students must get a 76 per cent on the nine-part test and are given three attempts to pass.

Their first attempt takes place in January of the students’ second year.

The second try is in October of the third year, and then the final attempt is January of the third year.

Inadequate resources

Stiles failed her third attempt on Jan. 8 and said there are a lot of issues with the testing process.

The first issue she said she has: Francophone students are told on day one of their schooling that the test is coming, but Anglophone students are only told three months in advance, leaving little time to prepare.

“I did the exercises over and over and over. I reviewed all the French notes I had from the previous year of French classes, I spent hours studying for this test,” she said.

Stiles said the university didn’t provide adequate preparation materials for students.

Stiles claimed there was only one tutor provided for more than 40 students, that online practicing resources for the competency tests were lacking and the organizer of the campus French Aid Centre didn’t offer much support.

“When I went there I was told that the tutoring wouldn’t be the right fit for me because the Francophone students of the university have trouble telling the Anglophones why they’re making these mistakes, and have trouble understanding the mistakes,” she said.

Too little too late

Stiles said the university didn’t properly notify students who failed the test, leaving them in the lurch with few options for the future.

She said the options are: finish the semester, but have credits that can’t be easily transferred, receive advice from the school on what to do next, or pull themselves out of school all together.

Either way, they would have to end their studies at the university.

Stiles also said the university waited a week after receiving the results of the tests to inform students of their results, making it too late to transfer to another program or school.

“When I got the results I was really super upset, I cried a lot,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe all the hard work, all the effort, time, money I spent kind of just went almost to a waste.”

Stiles said a year and a half of her studies are transferable and she plans to start attending Crandall University in the spring.

High standards for students

In an emailed statement to Global News, the Université de Moncton said the French language competency tests are designed to determine if students have the language competency to teach the language.

The email also stated that this year’s test scores were lower than in previous years. This year’s success rate was 75 per cent, compared to 94 percent in 2015 and 100 per cent in 2012 and 2013.

“Considering the low success rate achieved this year, members of the Education Faculty have vowed to examine the services offered to students to help them prepare for the test and improve them as required without compromising the evaluation’s thoroughness,” the email reads.

The statement said students must score 76 per cent in each module in order to pass. Stiles passed eight of the nine modules on her last test.


© 2016 Shaw Media

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