Trouble adjusting to home studies during the COVID-19 pandemic will not be held against students at Red Deer Public Schools.
In March, the education minister guaranteed Albertans that students would proceed onto their next grade. And now, Red Deer Public Schools says marks for elementary and middle school students will not fall.
“If the kids aren’t engaging, we’ll use the assessments collected from September until March and just roll that over into the final report card,” said Nicola Golby, associate superintendent of learning services.
“Basically, the marks will stay the same, but the kids that are engaging have a chance to also improve.”
She said for high school students who are engaged in learning, their marks will either stay the same, improve, or be protected from falling more than 10 per cent.
“The kids that are not engaging at high school, they will still pass the course. Even if they quit attending any online learning when the pandemic started, they will still get credit for the course.”
She said the pandemic has created a difficult situation for education and it’s important to be compassionate.
“We need to realize there is so much else going on in the lives of kids right now. It’s a tough way for kids to learn, and it’s a tough way for teachers to really, truly, get the assessment information,” Golby said.
The Calgary Board of Education has similarly decided that students’ marks will not fall as a result of the pandemic, and students’ grades could improve based on their work.
Kurt Sacher, Chinook’s Edge School Division superintendent, said his jurisdiction is working to find balance and does not have specific rules for marking.
He said for now, the focus is on being sensitive to the pandemic learning environment and helping students so they don’t lose out on the opportunity to improve their marks.
“Our expectations are still there for students to still participate and engage in the learning process,” Sacher said.
“We want our kids to be successful. We know our people will go out of their way to provide supports and interventions to move kids forward and avoid anything that is penalizing or disrespectful of their really unique, unfortunate learning environment.”