Use of multiple literacies in province-wide exams in Québec

Each June, grades 6 and 11 graduating students take a province-wide standardized exam in English. Last Friday, I, and the language board consultants from the rest of the province, were the first to take a glimpse at what this year’s exams look like. The folks from the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) provided us with a 2 hour presentation of their exams and evaluation situations.

I was very impressed.

Not a multiple choice question, fill-in-blank, or short answer question in sight.

Of course, that hasn’t been the case for years anyways!

What was remarkable to me about the exams and evaluation situations was that they used multi-media, multi-modes, and multi-genres of the presentations of the texts. One of the evaluation situations created was based on the issue of how much technology is taking over our lives. Students are expected to make written responses in a forum that is to be considered an online forum. Social networks, blogs, forums and instant messaging environments are explored and even used as vehicles for communicating some of the text the students will use as they make their responses.

These exams and evaluation situations will be given to thousands of students in our province. In a sense, this will force teachers to become a bit online-savvy so they can appreciate the extent of the issues in the evaluation situations.

I am really proud of our very hip folks over at the ministry!

3 thoughts on “Use of multiple literacies in province-wide exams in Québec

  1. This sounds very promising. As an Teacher Candidate in Ontario, I’ve heard and read horror stories about standardized exams for Grade 3, 6 and up students. A shift in the questioning and a more inclusive set of questions is definitely a welcome change. I look forward to hearing more about these tests and hope their Ontario counterparts will see the same changes.

  2. Liam, thanks for your comment! Your blog sure does look interesting! You might be interested to know that graphic novels are being widely promoted here in Quebec and one of the evaluation situations uses a very graphic novel approach. The “exams” use more of a project-based learning approach than one where questions are used. The focus is on process to the creation of a product not about getting the “right” answer. Even though the process is at matter of 10-12 hours, I think it is a much more humane and authentic way of assessment!

  3. Katherine says:

    That sounds like a great idea! So many kids struggle with standardized testing today, and a lot of those hardships and frustrations can be eased through implementing different ways to administer and evaluate the tests. I really hope this idea spreads. It sounds like it will work well for students and allow them to achieve their full potential on the tests. I really hope it goes well for your province so you can share your success with other educators!

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