Students express worry over exam week

Students took their concerns about the district's decision to skip exam week to trustees Wednesday evening.

Students took their concerns about the district’s decision to skip exam week to trustees Wednesday evening.

About 70 students – and a handful of teachers – rallied outside school district headquarters, then made a presentation at the school board meeting, said Tali Campbell, a John Barsby Secondary School student and one of the organizers of the rally.

Students are upset because the district recently decided to hold regular classes during exam week, when students are typically at home except when writing tests.

Prior to the decision, exam weeks were scheduled for secondary schools in Nanaimo at the end of each semester – Jan. 23-27 and June 18-26.

The change was prompted by the Ministry of Education’s decision to eliminate most provincial exams for senior students, so that students are now only required to write five provincially mandated exams over the course of three years: three in Grade 10, one in Grade 11 and one in Grade 12.

But students argued that they use the week to prepare for the next semester as well as study for tests and that teachers hold exams for other courses during that time.

Teachers also expressed concerns about the timing of the decision, which came in late November, as the union felt it did not give them time to adequately prepare.

Campbell said students were told to talk with their principals and superintendent Dave Hutchinson would look at the possibility of recommending a compromise.

“We’re happy that they were respectful,” he said. “Are we satisfied with what is possibly going to be the outcome? Some of us are.”

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said it is up to each principal what the exam week schedule will look like.

“What [Hutchinson] said was that students should talk to their principals, that the details of that week were still being worked out,” she said.