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Apology, compensation coming to B.C. students given botched 2019 provincial exam scores

Click to play video: 'Lingering concerns over B.C. provincial exam marks mix-up' Lingering concerns over B.C. provincial exam marks mix-up
(July 31, 2019) Lingering concerns over B.C. provincial exam marks mix-up – Jul 31, 2019

The B.C. Ministry of Education says it will apologize to and compensate students who were financially harmed by botched provincial exam scores revealed in July 2019.

The error resulted in panic for many students in the graduating class of 2019 who were counting on the grades for crucial post-secondary admissions that summer.

The move comes following an investigation by the B.C. Ombudsperson, whose office released its report on the matter on Thursday.

According to the report, the ministry posted about 18,000 incorrect exam scores, about half of which were too high and half of which too low.

Read more: ‘Tabulation anomaly’ forces B.C. to review all 2019 provincial exam grades

The report also found the ministry’s communication with students and families “was misleading, and in some cases inaccurate,” a news release said.

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At the time, the ministry described the issue as a “tabulation anomaly.”

“Ministry staff worked quickly and diligently to correct the tabulations errors and that was positive, but when government makes a mistake, good public administration demands more,” Ombudsperson Jay Chalke said in a media release.

“Not only does the technical error need to be fixed, but the potential impact on people needs to be addressed.”

Rushed results

More than 100,000 potentially incorrect transcripts were sent to post-secondary institutions before the problems were corrected, the report said.

Exam score tabulations were rushed, and staff failed to immediately address both internal and external discrepancies.

Results were wrongly released even after staff, students and high schools were made aware of the problem.

Misleading statements

Once the errors were discovered, the province made a series of “unclear, inaccurate and misleading statements,” the report said.

The ministry was slow to inform the public about the nature and scope of the problem, and “gave only broad assurances that the situation was fully in hand.”

The report pointed to a news release from the ministry that suggested at the time that universities across North America had told the the province that students would not be affected by the error.

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In fact, only the University of British Columbia had given that assurance, the report said.

The ministry has agreed to six recommendations, including apologizing to and compensating affected students, the ombudsperson’s office said.

It will also improve the process by which exam results are reviewed and approved before release and have a staffer certify that information released is not wrong or misleading.

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