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Manitoba reinstates Grade 10, 12 exams following parental concerns

Manitoba has reinstated Grade 10 and Grade 12 exams after parents expressed concern in the wake of the government’s announcement a week ago of plans to revise the provincial exam system.

“We’re listening to Manitobans, and we’re always putting the betterment of kids first, that’s what we’ll do.” Education Minister Nello Altomare said.

Altomare said parents and post-secondary educators worried that scrapping exams would leave kids unprepared for college and university tests.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba government revises provincial exam system to better prepare students'

Manitoba government revises provincial exam system to better prepare students

Anna Stokke, a math professor at the University of Winnipeg, cheered the policy reversal and said the tests are an important part of making sure the education system is working.

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“For one thing, we can measure how our students are doing over time. We want to make sure our students are performing at least as well as they have in previous years, and hopefully better.”

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While the exams won’t be pulled, Altomare said some changes are coming, such as modernized exams to better reflect what students are learning and a switch over the next three to five year to delivering them online.

“We’re always collecting data, but we’ll make sure that now when we’re moving to an online platform, we’ll be able to get it quicker and do the analysis faster,” Altomare said.

Teachers and staff will be involved in revamping the exams, and Stokke said she thinks the online delivery may be more efficient, although it should be used cautiously.

“I would say partially online is maybe a better way to do it. So, for example, if it’s a math test, we would want to see the student’s work, and do they know how to work through the problems, rather than just an answer. And you lose some of that with online tests.” Stokke said.

The province will need measures to prevent cheating such as more supervision and restricting access to problem-solving software, she adds.

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