The B.C. education ministry will apologize to thousands of 2019 graduating high school students after more than half of their provincial exam marks were reported incorrectly, disrupting post-secondary plans.
B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke issued a report on the exam glitch Aug. 20, saying the ministry has accepted all of his recommendations to deal with the system that caused more than 18,000 Grade 12 exam marks to be incorrectly tabulated and reported to students.
“This includes improving internal quality control to reduce the risk of a repeat of the unfortunate events of 2019 and notably also includes committing to more forthright communications with the public, apologizing to students whose grades were wrongly reported and compensating anyone who was financially impacted,” Chalke wrote. “This is what we teach our children when they make a mistake – to acknowledge it, to sincerely apologize to whom they have hurt and to put things right.”
Education Minister Rob Fleming revealed the problem in late July 2019. It affected scores for three of the five Language Arts 12 provincial examinations: English 12, Communications 12, and Français langue seconde-immersion 12.
Chalke’s investigation describes what he called “a series of unclear, inaccurate and misleading statements” after the error was discovered. One was a ministry news release that assured students that post-secondary institutions across North America had said admissions would not be affected, when at the time only the University of B.C. had given that assurance.
Chalke confirmed Fleming’s statement last summer that online transcripts of graduating student grades were corrected quickly.
The reporting problems occurred as the ministry was changing its K-12 curriculum, and phasing in new provincial tests of literacy and numeracy as a requirement of graduation.