All English 12 students wrote their provincial exam this past Thursday, January 25th. Delivered online and written on laptops, this exam is worth no less than 40% of the total English 12 final grade. Although students were well prepared for all aspects of this test and also knew they were able to rewrite in April, given the high stakes nature of the exam, it was still a nerve-wracking experience for many.
Since there is a continued emphasis on this form of assessment at university and beyond, Brentwood students need to be familiar with studying for cumulative exams and writing them under the pressure of time. Several teachers are experimenting with cumulative unit tests which encourage review of all the material to date and make the final exam in June much less daunting. Others are focussing more on assessing academic skills and less on having students memorise trivial facts. The English 12 provincial exam is exactly that, a test that helps students demonstrate the writing and comprehension skills they have spent many years developing.
Standardised tests are also a guard against mark inflation, a tendency for marks to steadily creep up year after year as university demands become increasingly steep. Creating internal Brentwood exams that guard against this by having a consistent level of rigor is an important part of our job as educators.