The last of the high school Provincial exams is going the way of CD walkmans and flip phones by the end this school year. If you are like me, you remember taking several of them to graduate from high school in B.C., but for the last five years or so, the English 12 Provincial has been the lone survivor of many provincially examinable courses.
There have been numerous iterations of that English 12 exam over the decades and students have always approached the exam with some trepidation. No matter how many old exams we reviewed in class, they never really knew what to expect from this final FSA (foundational skills assessment) that determined 40% of their final mark.
Personally, I will miss grading the papers with other teachers from the province in a central marking area, be it SFU or Walnut Grove in Langley. I often found this assessment piece accurately portrayed my English student’s abilities to write essays and comprehend both poetic and prose pieces alike.
Yet, while the chapter on these exams closes this year, the Ministry of Education is introducing literary assessment exams. Soon students will take a total of two Graduation Literary Assessments: one in grade 10 and 12. These exams will offer more choice and will focus on communicating and comprehending topics that are across the curriculum. So while students of the future will no longer be graded on, say, their skill in writing a great narrative essay; they will need to demonstrate their “ability to make meaning from text and express themselves in a variety of modes and for a variety of purposes” (curriculum.gov.bc.ca).
Sounds like these skills are exactly the kind that students will want to possess as we move into the new decade of the 21st century.