KPU Instructor David Burns is spearheading a project that would get students into Kwantlen based on portfolios. (Submitted photo)

Portfolios, not grades, will soon get students into Kwantlen Polytechnic University

KPU instructor is working with Surrey School District to spearhead pilot admissions program

SURREY — A single letter grade doesn’t tell the whole story.

That’s the message that Kwantlen Polytechnic University is preaching after their introduction of an innovative admission program.

Instead of admitting students based solely on academics and letter grades, KPU instructor Dr. David P. Burns has a different idea. He’s spearheading the Surrey Portfolio Pathways Partnership, which will see students admitted based primarily on a strong portfolio.

Burns leads the Kwantlen Educational Policy Incubator (KEPI), which has partnered with the Surrey School District to develop a framework for accepting high school portfolios for post-secondary admission.

The university and the district will work with six high school students to develop portfolios that will be used for actual admission to KPU next September. Five students will be admitted to the Faculty of Arts and one student to the Faculty of Science and Horticulture as first-year undergraduates.

Their portfolios will either enhance or entirely replace a regular grade-based application.

“Students all over Surrey are doing amazing, new and creative things to demonstrate learning in ways that letter and number grades simply cannot express,” Burns said in a press release.

Burns suggests that the effectiveness of portfolios is often discredited when it comes to the application process.

“If students create these amazing new portfolios and we don’t bother to make them a meaningful part of the university transition process, we are, in effect, saying they don’t have much value,” said Burns.

“Instead, the ultimate goal should be to make the portfolios an integral part of the application process into university education.”

KPU and the Surrey School District have spent “many months” examining portfolios from a small sample of high school students to determine whether the university’s admissions system could accommodate portfolio-based admissions.

Their answer after months of examination was a resounding ‘yes.’

“[These students] developing portfolios that clearly demonstrate their readiness for university study,” Burns said.

Surrey School District Superintendent and CEO Jordan Tinney is also a fan of the project.

“Imagine if human resources departments assigned letter grades to employee performance, yet one or two percentage points can influence a grade and mean the difference between entrance to a post-secondary institution or not,” Tinney said in a release.

“Imagine breaking a person’s complex understanding of things like civilization, culture, art, dance, philosophy, English, down to a number — to one decimal place in fact,” he said.

Aside from the new admissions format at KPU, the B.C. Ministry of Education is moving away from conventional grading and towards broader measures of student success. That new curriculum will be implemented in 2019.

Dr. Salvador Ferreras, KPU’s provost and VP academic, lauds the Surrey Portfolio Pathways Partnership and sees it as a natural extension of KPU’s polytechnic mandate.

“Portfolios and competencies allow us to know and predict more about students, which will also allow us to better support them as they transfer into and through university,” said Ferreras. “So why wouldn’t we want to know more?”



trevor.beggs@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Trevor on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP supporters make noise during rally outside city hall

‘Keep the RCMP in Surrey’ leader Ivan Scott says municipal force ‘not a done deal’

International South Asian expo pitched for Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

Mayor Doug McCallum says the idea ‘shows a lot of promise’

White Rock council declares disapproval of ride-hailing rules

City to submit resolution to UBCM, send letter to B.C. Passenger Transportation Board

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

Guilty plea in Lower Mainland break-and-enter spree

Gordon Vincent Gladstone, 42, was charged with 12 counts relating to a dozen incidents in late 2018

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Vancouver police officer hit with bear spray mid-arrest

Officer had been trying to arrest a woman wanted province-wide

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Most Read