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

Free pads, tampons now available in Surrey school washrooms

Menstrual products previously given out to students upon request

Surrey student selected as Loran Award recipient

Award is valued at $100K over four years of undergraduate studies

‘Coldest Night’ walk in Whalley aims to raise $25K on Saturday

Live music, food and commemorative toques attract teams to national event held annually

Former Cloverdale church elder pleads guilty to sexual assault

Brian Batke, 73, entered guilty plea Feb. 14

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

UPDATE: TransLink gets injunction ahead of pipeline, Indigenous rights protest

The protest rally is in opposition to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipeline projects

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

Most Read