I just completed a two week training session in Montreal.
25 teachers were invited from around the province to attend. Each day we read, evaluated and discussed the Secondary Five exams which were written by students in May. The exams were articles (not essays) and they all addressed the same topic: “Youth Culture: Empowerment or Manipulation.”
From the ministry’s perspective, the event was a step towards standardization of graduation examinations, whereby all the exams will be marked by teams at a few centralized cities. We’re not there yet. This year was a dry run, and a chance to train and educate teachers about the process. Next spring will be the real deal.
The training was quite enlightening. I had the opportunity to hear the opinions of several colleagues. There were many lengthy animated conversations about the minute details of how English writing ought to be assessed.
Having the opportunity to personally read and discuss about 200 exams, sampled from across the province, was a real eye-opener for me. It provided me with a unique insight into the quality of writing of our students and the topics that are on the minds of modern teens. It also forced me to examine closely the qualities of good writing and to ruminate on how I will teach these skills to my students next year.
Thanks to Anne Doucet for making the whole event possible and thanks to all the helpful, friendly teachers who attended.