Diploma exams are optional this fall for high school students, the Alberta government said in a statement Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Alberta high school diploma exams made optional this fall

Decision will be reviewed by Alberta Education as the year progresses

Students won’t have to write diploma exams in October or November, according to Alberta Education.

In a statement Tuesday, the government said that after listening to feedback from parents, students and teachers, pupils will have the option of writing the exams.

Diploma exams are taken in core subjects by students looking to graduate. They are now weighted as 30 per cent of a student’s mark. Prior to 2015, they made up 50 per cent of a student’s final mark.

“As we continue to listen to students, parents and education partners, it’s clear that some students may not feel comfortable or be in the best position to write exams at this time,” said Colin Aitchison, the press secretary for Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.

“We know these are challenging times, and that’s why we want to ensure students and their parents have the flexibility to make the best decision for their own situation this exam season.”

Last week, Red Deer public school trustees called on the provincial government to suspend Grade 12 diploma exams for the 2020-21 school year.

While trustees appreciate the decision to make the exams optional, Laurette Woodward, the school board’s vice chair, said a more definite conclusion needs to be reached soon.

“If they have to be quarantined because they either have symptoms, or have a positive COVID test, or they are a close contact, they could be asked to stay home up to 14 days,” said Woodward.

“If that’s the case, they stay home and certainly they are still served by teachers when they are home. What we are hearing from teachers is that there are sometimes gaps in their learning when they return.”

In November, the Red Deer Public Schools board will present a resolution to the Alberta School Boards Association’s general meeting, calling for no diploma exams in the current school year. They hope the backing of multiple school boards will help push the government to suspend the exams and elevate the concern of students.

“It just allows us to work with other school boards to be a stronger advocate. It’s better than one voice, to have many voices saying the same thing,” Woodward said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Chasetin Morin
Photo from RCMP
Three men accused of assaulting Blackfalds RCMP officer going to trial

RCMP officer shot and wounded one of alleged attackers in December 2019

The Cenovus Energy Inc. logo seen at the company's headquarters in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
One-time costs of Husky takeover expected to be about $500 million, says Cenovus CEO

One-time costs of Husky takeover expected to be about $500 million, says Cenovus CEO

This drum circle was one of a multitude of activities held at The Hub on Ross in downtown Red Deer. The facility was permanently closed by the provincial government his week. (Advocate file photo.)
Many Red Deerians react with anger, dismay at closure of The Hub on Ross

Many disabled people can’t afford other recerational options, says guardian

Award-winning Calgary developer Brad Remington stands with Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer at the site of three multi-family condo complexes that are planned for Capstone, west of Carnival Cinemas. (Photo by LANA MICHELIn/Advocate staff).
$36M condo project on its way to Capstone development

Calgary developer plans to create 180 housing units to open in 2022

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Workers at Olymel's Red Deer pork processing plant are among those eligible for a $2-an-hour bonus because of the pandemic.
Red Deer Advocate file photo
Two Olymel workers test positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

Two workers at Olymel’s pork processing facility in Red Deer have tested… Continue reading

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2015, file photo, former world boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. shows off his Russian passport during a news conference in Moscow, Russia. Mike Tyson and Jones got permission from California's athletic commission to return to the boxing ring next month because their fight would be strictly an exhibition of their once-unparalleled skills. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
Mike Tyson, Roy Jones promise a fight in “exhibition” return

Mike Tyson, Roy Jones promise a fight in “exhibition” return

David Hearn watches his putt on the seventh hole during the first round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament at Sedgefield Country Club on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Greensboro, N.C. David Hearn, like everyone, has been deeply effected by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Chris Carlson
Canada’s Hearn looks to shake off poor 2020 results with more consistent play

Canada’s Hearn looks to shake off poor 2020 results with more consistent play

Malnati birdies half of holes to take 1-shot lead in Bermuda

Malnati birdies half of holes to take 1-shot lead in Bermuda

Penny Oleksiak swims the 200 metre race during the 2018 Team Canada finals in Edmonton on Wednesday July 18, 2018. The number of young swimmers in Canada is dwindling because of barriers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Swimming Canada urges pools to accommodate youth, says can be done safely

Swimming Canada urges pools to accommodate youth, says can be done safely

Canada's Meaghan Mikkelson (12) and Marie-Philip Poulin (29) defends against United States' Hilary Knight (21) during the third period of a rivalry series women's hockey game in Hartford, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada's director of women's national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team yearns for international competition

Canadian women’s hockey team yearns for international competition

Hockey Canada still holding out hope that Lafreniere can play in world juniors

Hockey Canada still holding out hope that Lafreniere can play in world juniors

Most Read