Ministerial Exams Update

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AQED, represented by Marie-Jo Demers and Marine Dumond, had a meeting with the DEM and the Département Ministériel de la Sanction des Études. Here are the points that came out of the meeting: 

In terms of regulations

  • The child must take the exam when it is stated in the learning project (LP) that the content of the exam has been taught, so biological age has no bearing.
  • The regulation states that the child must take the exam; there is no mention, nor consequence of passing or failing.

The objective of these exams

  • According to the Ministry, the objective of these exams is to force the teaching of a content close to the QEP (for exams in grades 4 and 6, and sec. 2), and to favour the acquisition of the Secondary School Diploma (SSD)
  •  in sec. 4 and 5.
  • In addition, the aim is to allow for the recognition of children’s achievements and to better manage the education system.

Steps that must be taken by each family

  • Request a permanent code from the school board (SB) or the local school;
  • Inform the SB that the child must take an exam at the end of the year. The DEM acknowledged that, according to the regulations, the SB could not require families to provide their LP;
  • To request accommodations: the DEM is working on a form for parents to make such requests, but the form will not be sent to all parents: those who need it will need to request it from their resource person (Rep).

English as language of instruction

  • English-speaking families who do not have a certificate of eligibility for English-language instruction must inform their SB that their children will not participate in the French-language tests, and contact their Rep to this effect.
  • These children will be allowed to take the ministerial exams in English and access preparatory activities in English.
  • These children will take the ministerial exams in an English school board.

Preparatory activities

  • Each SB remains responsible for the organization of preparatory activities;
  • There is a difference between the preparatory activities that will be offered by the SB and the preparatory phase that is part of the test itself;
  • The children will be able to familiarize themselves with a test from a previous year, but the parent will not be able to attend;
  • Guides with examples for each subject are available here.

Processing the results

  • In sec. 4 and 5, grading is shared between a teacher and the Ministry of Education and the grade is entered into the Charlemagne system; results will be available starting in July, online, by phone and by mail;
  • In sec. 4 and 5, the recognition of courses in a lower level following the successful completion of courses in a higher level is no longer possible;
  • In sec. 4 and 5, it is possible to retake the exam in August or January in the case of a failed exam;
  • In sec. 4 and 5, it is possible to refuse entry of grades into the Charlemagne system in order to not have grades and to have access to a parallel admission process at the university;
  • There is no required ministerial exam in history this year (2021-2022).
  • In grades 4, 6 and sec. 2, the correction is done by a teacher, and the ministry does not have access to the individual result of each child;
  • It will be possible to consult the child’s copy under the supervision of the SB, without being able to take notes or photos.

This is a summary of the key points brought forward by the ministry.

Due to a lack of time, all of our questions and concerns could not be answered and another meeting will be organized in the next few weeks. 

For now, the reaction of AQED is that, once again, these steps that parents must take are putting a new burden on the shoulders of families, despite a regulation that has already been very demanding for the past 2 years.

We notice that many of the recommendations we made last spring and which you can find here have not been followed, including keeping the exams optional.  We believe that the objectives formulated above can be met in other, more family-friendly ways:

  • Teaching content close to the QEP is already in place under the DEM’s current interpretation of the regulations (and should not require an examination to prove);
  • Facilitating completion of the SSD should begin with the development of a fair process, beginning with weighting grades in a similar fashion to those of in-school students and not attributing 100% of the grade to a single exam;
  • And finally, recognition of children’s prior learning and better steering of the system should begin with proper recognition of the many documents that families have to complete each year.

Furthermore, while it is reassuring that pass/fail does not impact the continuation of homeschooling, some of the points raised in this meeting remain highly problematic:

  • It is unacceptable that parents cannot access an earlier version of the exam WITH their child, knowing that homeschool teachers can prepare their students with said earlier test. Furthermore, there is the question of the relevance and feasibility of a child being alone to observe a previous test independently;
  • As we have stated several times, it is inappropriate for each SB to be responsible for the majority of the modalities related to the taking of ministerial exams in view of the disparity and inconsistencies that will result, particularly with regard to requests for adaptations;
  • Finally, we are concerned that some of the procedures are still unknown at the end of October for families who teach in English without eligibility. 

Finally, here are some of the main questions that have not been answered. We know that these questions concern many of our members and that our team of support volunteers is often confronted with them:

  • What is the procedure for being exempt from taking ministerial exams?
  • What are the procedures for obtaining units for the DES when the youth is taught in English without eligibility?
  • What is the consequence of not taking the tests?

If you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to write to support at AQED ([email protected]), and we will do our best to share with you the information we have at our disposal and help you find the answers you are looking for.