Provincial education minister Ed Bernier would argue strongly against the notion, as he does in a letter to parents with accompanying explanations, that his ministry is dumbing down education by its adoption of a new curriculum which, at the end, will feature just two provincial exams instead of the current five.
This wholesale shift is based on the theory that student success and preparation for real life should not be measured so much by standardized testing but by assessing individual progress of students who, quite correctly, learn at different paces and acquire knowledge through different means.
Still, there is only one way to spell “Terrace” and 8 x 9 can only be 72. And unpopular as it might be, a certain core foundation of learning by rote, to use an old-fashioned word, must continue to be in place and possibly enhanced to ensure students have those basics upon which to continue to acquire knowledge.
While the two final assessments to be put in place for graduation will focus on literacy and math, of concern is the decision to eliminate provincial exams for what will be the new curriculum’s social studies courses in the senior grades.
Just as is the case with math and literacy, students must have a foundation of how society is put together if they are to become productive citizens. A test of that knowledge reinforces that importance.