Thousands of B.C. students will not get report cards

VANCOUVER – Thousands of students will not be getting report cards this year and provincial exams are being modified to make them easier to mark as teachers begin the second week of their full strike.

Report cards have not been deemed an essential service, so teachers will not be required to complete them. Provincial exams were declared as essential, with teachers required to invigilate, but not mark, the Grade 10 and 11 provincials.

“Based on concerns raised by a number of superintendents related to quality and validity of the marking for Social Studies 11 and English 10, the decision has been taken to alter the sections that students will be responsible for completing related to these two exams,” a letter to superintendents from a deputy education minister says.

The changes mean students will mostly complete only multiple choice answers rather than written sections of these exams, making it easier to mark the exams.

Scores will be adjusted accordingly, the letter says.

As far as final marks are concerned, the Labour Relations Board ruled Friday that the most recent Grade 10 and 11 marks would be reviewed by the classroom teachers, who must report any changes to the district. In effect, this means that

Grade 10 and 11 marks would stand as of the last date that marks were entered into the computer reporting system, unless the teacher makes an adjustment.

Whether or how those grades will be communicated to parents remains up in the air, but the superintendent of schools in Surrey, B.C.’s largest district, said in a letter that report cards are not possible under a full strike.

“Unless there is some small miracle, the school year does seem to be all but over with the exception of writing the remaining provincial exams,” Jordan Tinney says in a letter to parents. “The information that we need to produce report cards is in the hands of teachers and they are on strike.”

Tinney’s letter says a decision on summer school in Surrey will also be made this week.

“If teachers are on strike and picket lines are up, there will be no summer school,” Tinney’s letter says. “We are all prepared and ready to go, but at this point, summer school is looking very tenuous. Some districts have already cancelled summer school. We will wait as late as possible to make that call.”

B.C.’s teachers launched their provincewide strike last week, after 16 months of failed negotiations. The two sides are within one per cent on their wage offers (the government is offering seven per cent over six years, the BCTF wants eight per cent over five years). The BCTF wants a $5,000 per teacher signing bonus and the government is offering $1,200.