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

EducationKwantlen Polytechnic UniversityScholarships

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Politicians want Surrey’s Civic Distinction Awards done ‘virtually,’ not postponed

City staff recommended they be put off to the fall of 2021 because of the pandemic

Illegal suite a concern for Cloverdale man

Despite a City-issued stop-work order, construction continues

Surrey Mounties need help to find missing woman

Hasheena Mundie, 25, was last seen at about 4:20 pm on August 4, in the 16700-block of 61 Avenue

Volunteers counted 644 homeless people in Surrey over 24 hours in March

Data collected helps governments and community agencies help the homeless

Surrey councillor calls for ward system

‘Surrey is ripe for a ward system now,’ Councillor Doug Elford says

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Former high-stakes poker player from Mission missing in Nevada

Brad Booth last seen on July 13, told roommate he was going camping

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Mission’s 7-Eleven defaced with racist graffiti

Racist insults attacking Indo-Canadians ‘shocked’ manager

Most Read