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Students demand grade freeze at Ottawa public high schools

A spokesperson for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board says it has already cancelled exams and final marks will be based 100 per cent on term learning.
2018-03-03 Ottawa-Carelton District School Board1 MV
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board logo, March 3, 2018. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld)

High school students in Ontario have launched various petitions calling for a grade freeze for the remainder of the Omicron-interrupted current semester.

The petitions have garnered more than 15,000 signatures supporting the move after some school boards said final marks won't fall further than where they were in December.

An organizer of a petition targeting the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) says students' performance in exams may be impacted by COVID-19 stress and those in boards where grades won't fall further are at an advantage.

A spokesperson for the OCDSB says it has already cancelled exams and final marks will be based 100 per cent on term learning.

Here is the OCDSB's official statement on the matter:

"We recognize and value the initiative of student leaders in putting together a proposal regarding marks and advocating on behalf of fellow students. We hear the concerns that they are raising and have reached out to OCDSB student trustees and other student leaders to discuss this issue in the context of OCDSB assessment strategies.

In planning for the 2021-2022 school year we recognized that secondary school students would continue to face challenges as a result of the pandemic both academically and from a well being perspective. This includes stress and mental health issues and being required to isolate and support family members as needed. We planned for the possibility that students would face unexpected interruptions, such as the recent nine-day shift to remote learning, and adjusted our instructional and assessment structures to be flexible and responsive. In order to maximize instructional time for students, at the start of the year we decided that there would be no examination days or final evaluations (“summatives”). Final marks would be based on 100% term learning, focusing on the most consistent, most recent evidence of learning. 

In the OCDSB, these adjusted structures have been in place since the beginning of the school year."

-With files from Mike Vlasveld, CityNews Ottawa

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