Changes to high school report cards mean students in Grades 8 and 9 will no longer be given letter grades and percentages for marks, starting next year.
Instead, students in their first two years of high school will be given a description on a four-point provincial “proficiency scale” to indicate how they are doing in class.
Students in senior secondary Grades 10 to 12 will still receive traditional letter grades and marks.
Parents will still receive comments from teachers, describing how students are doing in class, areas they are doing well and others where they need to improve.
The latest changes to scrap letter grades for students in their first two years of high school are being directed by the provincial Ministry of Education and apply to secondary students across B.C.
Report card changes are meant to better reflect curriculum changes first adopted in 2016 which emphasized “core competencies” and “big ideas” rather than learning of particular content.
Currently, there are a wide variety of proficiency scales already in use in various school districts.
In North Vancouver, for instance, several International Baccalaureate programs have been using assessments like a proficiency scale since 2018.
The changes mean that all schools in B.C. will now follow the same scale to assess students up to Grade 9.
Proficiency scale to replace letter grades for junior high school students
The scale includes designations of student’s work as “emerging” “developing” “proficient” or “extending.”
Under the new system, all students – including those with disabilities or who are neuro-divergent – will also receive a regular assessment.
In a parent information session hosted by the North Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council this week, parents asked questions about the changes, including how students in high school will adapt to the sudden change to traditional marks in Grade 10, and how families from cultures that traditionally value achievement of certain marks will deal with the change.
Others asked if the change would put students who plan to attend university, including universities outside of B.C., at a disadvantage.
Greg Hockley, North Vancouver district principal of curriculum and assessment, said that’s one of the reasons marks and percentages have been kept for the senior high school grades – so B.C. students won’t face additional hurdles when applying for university admission.
New Indigenous-focused grad requirement
Other changes include providing families of high school students with a “graduation update” which tells parents and students all the courses they have taken so far and the courses they still need to complete for graduation.
Another change taking effect during the next school year is a requirement that all students complete four credits (generally one course) of Indigenous-focus course work in senior high school in order to graduate.
Most students will meet the requirement by taking one provincial social studies or English course in their senior years of high school with a specific focus on Indigenous material. Some First Nations language courses and some locally developed courses will also meet the requirement.