Coronavirus: Final exams cancelled for high school students in Simcoe County

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WATCH: Many school boards across Ontario have replaced exams with course work and assignments that work better with current school models amid the coronavirus pandemic – Oct 14, 2020

Final exams have been cancelled for high school students under both the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB).

The boards’ decisions come as Ontario’s Ministry of Education has changed its policy regarding assessment and evaluation.

Read more: Some Simcoe County parents pulling their kids out of school as COVID-19 cases rise

High school students under the SCDSB will be evaluated through their term work.

“They still may do a culminating activity, something that’s chunked at the end of the year,” the SCDSB’s education superintendent, Dawn Stephens, told Global News.

“What we really want to focus on is providing students multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning and to provide students feedback on their learning.”

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Under the SMCDSB, in many cases, high school students will be required to complete a course-culminating task.

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“Every teacher will have a different way that they’ll assess and evaluate students,” Pauline Stevenson, SMCDSB spokesperson, said Friday.

“It has a lot to do with what the course is and the curriculum requirements.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Ontario government revises school, child care centre screening guidelines

Under both school boards, the days that were scheduled for final exams will be regular instructional days instead.

“We really wanted to make sure that our students had the best opportunities possible to really excel this year,” Stephens said.

“It’s been a challenging year for them and to not have to worry about a final exam quickly approaching — that part of the year didn’t need to be exasperated.”

Stevenson said the SMCDSB’s students and staff experienced a lot of changes this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s a lot the students and staff are having to do,” Stevenson added.

“Because of that, and also because of equity of trying to deliver exams virtually to students as well as in class, we have opted to evaluate and assess students’ achievements without a final exam.”

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