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Grade 12 provincial final exams no longer happening in Manitoba

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From a pandemic pause to a permanent practice, Grade 12 students in Manitoba are no longer having to take final exams.

The province confirmed to CTV News Winnipeg that final exams for English, French and math classes have all stopped and haven’t been taken since January 2020.

The St. James-Assiniboia School Division said in a statement that the final week when exams were to usually take place, has now been replaced with an extra week of learning and final projects are to be scheduled for that week. The division said exams accounted for 25 to 30 per cent of a student’s final grade.

The Winnipeg School Division said the final week will now be used for final assessments and how the assessment is done is determined by each school.

Matt Henderson, the assistant superintendent with the Seven Oaks School Division said the switch to project-based learning prepares students for different kinds of careers.

“We want to make sure that learners are academically prepared in all sorts of ways. That there is sense of mastery, that they’ve mastered content and skills. There’s a sense of identity, that they have been inducted into the adult world through passionate educators so they see themselves as a mathematician, so they see themselves as a chef, they see themselves as a high performance athlete” he said. “We also want to ensure that learners are able to produce something that wasn’t there before, we call that creativity.”

Henderson feels exams are in place to check if the school system is actually working and are not actually preparing kids for the future.

“We know it’s the feedback and not a number or a grade or a stamp on a paper that’s actually going to push learning forward.”

Horace Luong, the associate dean of student experience at the University of Manitoba said mental health struggles are also common themes during exams as students deal with testing anxiety.

Even though Grade 12 exams are ending, the province said it is working with educators to create a new Grade 10 evaluation process.

“More information will be available once communication flows to education stakeholders, which is planned shortly,” a spokesperson for the province said.

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