Essay questions scrapped from some provincial exams

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

Students taking provincial exams across the province tomorrow won’t be required to do much writing.
The  essay portions of the English 10 and Social Studies 11 exams are scrapped.

The multiple choice questions on both exams will still need to be completed, as will one written response question in the English 10 exam.

In a letter to BC Superintendents, the Ministry of Education says administrators raised concerns about the quality and validity of marking while teachers are on strike.
Meanwhile Lisa Cable with Parents for BC says its unfortunate many students won’t get end of year report cards.

“For parents it gives them that really good picture of what happened during the year, we get interim reports, but it’s also nice at the end of the year to get a here is where your child started in September, here is where they are at the end of June, here’s what happened during the year for better or worse.”

Many districts are informing parents they don’t have enough staff or information to compile report cards.


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  1. Another thought. …how is this fair for semester one kids…their marks based on complete exams…will essay parts of their exams be scrapped and marks adjusted

  2. The most pathetic government in Canadian history carries on with more and more idiocy. Sadly, people are so focused on their idiocy that the horrific money managing skills of this government go unseen. It is impossible to create such a debt without trying to destroy the province.

  3. Before blaming teachers and the BCTF for any disruption or difficulty in marking exams and issuing report cards, it is important to note that under our collective bargaining process, teachers are exercising their lawful right to strike.

    So calls to disband the union, fire them all or put them in jail are not viable options unless the government chooses to disobey the law.

    • Insite, these cries originate from the “Looney Right. No one in the Liberal Party takes them seriously and neither does the public who are generally very well versed on the issues surrounding education.

  4. Not even marking essays. In this case I’m leaning more towards the government. The BCTF are pulling this every 2 years or so in order to maintain their gravy train status quo. For 9 months annual work and a guaranteed define pension plan on the way it’s already not a bad gig. To be fair yes they partly pay in to their pensions too but the rest is paid by tax payers and any dips in the markets to the pension are paid by the tax payers too since they are guaranteed a specific amount no matter the markets. It seems BCTF members have had it so well for so long that they don’t even think it’s anything less then normal and the status quo. Yes they work hard during the 9 months but to have that 3 months opportunity to drop everything and head to Greece makes it well worth it. Don’t get me wrong I’d rather be a BC Ferries Exec and make my 500k but as averages go these days, Teachers have it alright and lets face it, we have a homeless problem in the downtown east side and Veterans that needs our funds way more then Lexus SUV driving teachers.

    • Sammy, why do you and Dwight begrudge teachers a professional income which maintains a standard of living consistent with their qualifications and education? Your joint posts suggest that you resent the success of others. Perhaps you are economically disadvantaged and view this as unfair. It’s interesting that you do not appear offended by Liberals raises to insiders and MLA Pensions which are far more lavish than teachers’ income and pensions. I know that the homeless are marginalized and BC Ferries has their own “country club” for executives. Are you not concerned? I am!

      • Garp, get real. Show me ONE post where I have said don’t deserve a raise. Can you lefties not read?
        You and the Teachers are the one that are doing the whining. Not me. I am a concerned Taxpayer, and feel very strongly that Teachers deserve no more than any other Public sector worker. I have said that numerous times. Because you are incapable of understanding that, don’t blame me.
        As far as my life goes, I did very well, a lot better than any Teacher/BCTF whiners. Why don’t you whiners either suck it up and quit whining or find another career, if it is that bad.
        Also, please note, Teachers lost their professional status, thanks to their union.

        • Dwight, for a person who hurls insults and innuendos at teachers and others who have opinions different than yours, you are very easily offended. I associate that with low self esteem and low confidence but that may not apply in your case- I can only judge you by your comments. As this is a public media I will let others assess you past comments.

          PS I don’t understand the relevance of teacher’s professional status, which was legislated away by the Liberal Government.

          • Garp

            Another BCTF/NDP double standard.
            Why don’t you answer this question, Garp, don’t beg for my opinion then spend your time attempting to dump on me. I must really be getting through for you to want my opinion so badly.
            Looks to me you just wanted to try some more of your bullying tactic.
            Garp, if you were right as often as you are wrong, you would be up there with the rest of us.

      • Garp try to avoid any negative assumptions. No I don’t know this Dwight you speak and no I’m not low income. As a licensed Professional Engineer (Structural) I make a good living for a private consulting firm. More then most Teachers. Not more per hour of work though as I do work 11 months a year. I have no complaints about my choice of career. For Teachers who chose to go in to Teaching to complain now about more gravy pay and more massage therapy benefits and more days off then school days is unrealistic. But per my original point they should just say this is a contract dispute period and not involve the kids as tools.

        • As a professional engineer I am confident you have insight into professional standards and requirements for safety others do not have. You also appreciate the importance of your work. The same is true of teachers. Many comments do not exhibit the level of insight necessary to evaluate the issues underlying this dispute – that is totally understandable, however, posters degenerate teachers without fully appreciating the class composition issue and how that affect their working conditions as well as the ability of children to learn.

    • Just to clarify, marking the essay portion of the exam may be done by teachers but they are separate from the BCTF. Teachers have been told they can still mark essays for the government by the BCTF as they contract on their own to do so. This decision was made unilaterally by the government. If I was the parent of a student who had written SS11 or Eng 11 in Feb. I would be looking at a lawsuit against the government. This is just another opportunity to blame something on teachers that they have no control over. Shame on you for buying the governments lies. Every person in this province had an opportunity to go to school and become a teacher. DO NOT blame teachers for choosing that path or try to make them feel bad for the benefits that people like my father worked so hard to get in the 50′s and 60′s. As for going o Greece in the summer with all the money teachers get – ha. You obviously don’t know many teachers. Do all teachers a favour, when the strike is over go into a school and volunteer and see how cushy teachers jobs are. I think you will eat your words.

      • Example of a ‘Teacher’ salary is at
        They appear to top out at 124k as of last year. I’m not saying this is a lot or not, only that it is what it is. Next point part of being a Professional is to preform no matter the situation. When BCTF say lockout they simply mean they won’t do the work because they won’t get paid for it. It’s not as if there are government officials at the doors of all the school blocking Techers from entering. Professionals by definition are not unionized though. As in the Government Management and Specialists are not under a union whereas lower employees are like Technologists and Admin. I’m not saying it’s good or bad to be a Professional or non-Professional. I just want to point that out as many here seem to forget that.

  5. I guess I inadvertently posted in an inactive teachers strike related (joke of an) article regarding teacher “poverty” and not knowing its inactive have been eagerly awaiting a reply from anyone to no avail. I guess I could copy and paste it here but as that so called poverty article was relevant to my very long post I thought instead maybe some of the many in a strike related discussion would be willing to check out my post and hopefully reply as well as I’m eager for a new perspective on the situation.

    Thanks in advance for your time:)

  6. Maybe union membership should not be compulsory for public schools. Governments often have laws that promote competition, but it has left the education of our children in the hands of a monopoly — one that has repeatedly shown its willingness to abuse that monopoly position. If Sobey’s can be forced to sell off assets for the sake of competition, how is it that the BCTF is allowed a free hand?

    • The good new is that public education is not a monopoly. People just think it is and hopefully through all of this, parents will begin to opt out of the public education system (if you can call it education) and start home schooling or sending the children to an independent school.

      The thing that bothers me is that public education has access to the taxes that I pay. I wish I was allowed to direct it to independent or home shcooling.

      • Would you like to know how private teachers get paid. They wait to see what public teachers receive from the government and then match it. Plus they have perks like free tuition for their children, they get paid to invigilate exams, paid to coach….

        • Isn’t it amazing what the independent schools can do with the exact same amount of money as the public schools.
          What a great way they have found to get their raises, no negotiation, strikes, lockouts etc. Very smart indeed.
          And no outrageous Union dues, no wages lost to strikes/lockouts.
          Get to do your job without the Union telling you what you can and cannot do. Like real professionals would do.
          Also the independent school I am familiar with does not pay coaches, but hey, if it works for your argument, what the hey? .

      • Me too Micah. I want the choice in where MY school taxes go. I get more than a little annoyed hearing people complain how government money is going to private schools and it should be stopped. It’s MY money and I am fed up with the BCTF big time..

      • Hey you do know that taxpayers already subsidize private schools. How is that fair. The normal hard working folks can’t even access private schools because of the outrageous tuition fees but still pay taxes for them.

        Private schools should only be funded by the rich that can afford them.

        The cherry on top is the fact that its another tax deduction for rich who already can deduct their car, gas, house, living, cellphone, energy, fancy client dinners, golf outings, vacations and many other expenses all related to their businesses.

        • “R” don’t get ahead of yourself – every child who goes to private schools saves the province money. You need to remember parents of those children pay taxes as well, and by putting their children in private school actually save the province money. It costs the taxpayer 2x the amount of subsidy to have the same child attend public school.

      • Micah, many people send their children to private school, I did and was very frustrated at spending in excess of $20K per year to ensure my child received a quality education. All children deserve that, and as a member of the public, it’s my view that the Liberals either fund education properly or make alternate arrangements for quality education, with income tax exemptions which currently do not exist for private schools. This government refuses to address the crux of the problem of class size and composition, and casts blame of its educators and it’s union.

        Home schooling is an excellent alternative, but it does not address socialization issues; aside from the fact most parents are incapable of teaching beyond a certain grade level.

  7. Students should get to file a class action lawsuit against both the BCTF and the Liberal Govt. Semester one students that wrote the English Provincial Exam will definitely have lower skewed marks. Their transcripts for getting entrance into post secondary programs like nursing down the road will be handicapped. I always wanted to be a doctor, wonder if I could write a short a multiple choice test to get my medical license; that sounds good to me. LOL
    They need to KIBOSH these provincial exams altogether this year. The way these exams are being modified and the people they are recruiting to mark them, makes them nothing more than a joke. Students and parents need to hold the BCTF and the Liberals accountable for this!

  8. Are the Liberals not defying their own LRB ruling by taking an essential service [Government Exams] and altering the exam?

    I suppose this is consistent with the earlier absurdity of declaring Government Exams essential but previously limiting students’ opportunity to prepare for these exams by imposing a “limited lockout”.

    Whose needs are being met by conducting these “Sham Exams”? Certainly not the needs of students…

  9. The public needs to see the scamming that is going on here. The Liberals are so hung up on dragging the teachers through the mud that they cannot even abide by their own standards and are willing to sacrifice our most valuable resources.
    This insanity needs to stop; the students in this province have become the sacrifice of the governments agendas!

  10. As a teacher, I understand where many uninformed comments come from. The job looks great on paper. The reality is quite different. I have taught 27years in special education. Sadly, the number of students with disabilities of all forms is going up. Parents also expect that their child, regardless of their abilities, will go on to post secondary. Autism rates have skyrocketed as have mental health and behaviour issues. The classroom is a very different place now when compared to when I started. In the 90′s I had the same number of designated students and had 16 Special Education Assistants to help with them. I am now down to 6 SEA’s. A science 8 class in my school has 2 autistic students, one who needs one on one but isn’t funded for it, 1 student (of 4 in the grade 8 cohort in a middle class school) with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome who could be quite successful with more help (therefor eventually costing society less because he will be able to hold down a job that pays decently) 2 students with mental health and behaviour issues whoa re also part of 10 students with learning disabilities. Need I go on. This is not a one off. We have classes where there are more designated students than not. I no longer have SEA support in my Learning Assistance classes because I don’t have enough SEA’s to go around and I need them in academic classes. I’m not saying all this so you feel sorry for teachers. Regardless of what we get paid, what our class size and composition is or how cushy our pension is, we will still have jobs. Who suffers in the students and ultimately society. Because we aren’t able to graduate students with skills to allow them to be successful you and I will pay when they go out into the world and are unable to hold down jobs, become drug addicts or alcoholics or resort to illegal activities to support themselves. They will have children and the cycle will continue. And you and I will pay when we would like to be kept in old age at least above poverty. So you pay now (BCTF) or you pay later (government). Your choice. I’d rather pay now and at least slow the cycle down. So you think education is expensive, try ignorance! I would welcome any of you to come to my class in the fall.

    • Heather, what you Teachers seem to not be able to grasp is that we all have tough jobs, not just Teachers. Yet all we hear is the poor me. Most of these people make a hell of a lot less than Teachers and they suck it up. You can attempt to deny your wages and benefits, and extremely excellent work schedule, but they are facts.

      So you feel that the Taxpayer should anti up almost 2 Billion dollars and things will be better?and better for who? $5000. signing bonus, $3,000. for massages, increases on all gold plated benfits. That is for the Kids.?

      As far as calling those who are not Teachers ignorant, how many of us would stay in a job for 27 years as bad as you make it?

    • The rich folks don’t care because they send their kids to a private school. And that’s the truth. Show me one rich business owner who really cares about public education, I have yet to meet one. Even our MLAs hate public education and send their kids to private schools, (maybe its the small class sizes). All they care about is the bottom line and not paying anymore taxes. Its called greed.

    • Maybe your union should be asking for segregation of these special needs students like it was when we all went to school. It seems to me that integration of people with mental health issues in schools and even in society has been a huge failure. Just look what the closing of river view has done.

  11. My grade 11 is going to write the SS11 now… 55 multiple choice questions. So glad he can’t write the essay portion as he excels in that area!?! Such a fair thing to do to kids whose marks will be used for applying to university next year. They should have scraped the exam – this is ridiculous.