Sunday, September 25, 2011

University of Saskatchewan waives provincial and diploma exams

The University of Saskatchewan now waives provincial and diploma exams for admission and scholarships.

Their rationale goes like this:

  • We don't want to penalize you if you have a bad test day.
  • We don't believe your future should ride on the success of one set of tests.
  • We have confidence in our teachers and trust their ability to assess students.
For Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Students:
  • Diploma exam marks are no longer required! We will take the mark that workds to your best advantage - your in-class mark or your diploma exam mark. It's just that simple. So when you write your diploma exams, don't get stressed! We'll look at your entire academic career, not just those three intense hours. We're the first university in Canada to do this - just another University of Saskatchewan advantage.
This is yet another example of how post-secondary institutions are grasping how little test scores actually tell us about a learner and that while some might believe tests have their place, we must all remember to keep them in their place.

What effect will this move have on other colleges and universities in Canada?


  1. Now if only we could get the U of S to bring down their tuition fees ---went up again this year. That probably causes more stress than a three hour intense exam.
    "great, no test scores, I'm in !! but....ah damn, $200 for the 8th edition of this textbook....and $300 and $1000 ...for what?!"
    High tuition fees (and the huge debt that follows) not test scores truly take the love out of learning --(but someone has to pay the university preidents' quarter to half million dollar team of secretaries, right?)

    Sorry, but I sense that enrolment is decreasing, and universities need more flexibility in admissions. This is about profits and competition, not about test stress. But I hope that I am wrong...

  2. I agree with the precious comment. I would love to believe this was motivated my principle and not marketing. I still hear comments about the failure of secondary schools to adequately prepare students for various courses. I'll be optimistic about this one. Perhaps it is a sign of change. If it is not a principled decision, then it is still a wonderful opportunity to change the system.

  3. Ha hahaha... I meant the previous comment, though perhaps it was a precious one too. I'll blame that on my spell check.

  4. IMHO, the reason that many kids in the US aren't prepared for college is because the K-12 schools are currently more interested in saving their own hides via the almighty test scores. Unfortunately the easiest pathway to doing that comes at the cost of the harder to measure skills that are necessary for a truly successful post-secondary experience.

    This added part here is a bit off topic, why do we always expect the positive results of the hard work to show up immediately? Some of the work done in one school year may not bear fruit until the next school year or later.


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