Vernon, Coquitlam teachers reprimanded for pre-distributing exam questions | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon, Coquitlam teachers reprimanded for pre-distributing exam questions

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November 05, 2019 - 12:00 PM

For providing their students an unfair advantage on an English 12 provincial exam, two B.C. teachers have lost pay and faced temporary suspensions.

The first case is a Vernon high school teacher who in the 2017/18 school year distributed to her students a copy of a previously used English 12 Provincial Exam to study from.

On the cover of the exam teacher Maria MacDonald gave out, it read: "Secure Exam" with the warning “copying, storing or sharing this examination part or in while is a direct violation of the exam security policy.”

Exams that are marked secure may have portions of them re-used in subsequent years, and that turned out to be the case in MacDonald’s year.

When the actual provincial exam was distributed to her students in January 2018, content from the practice exam was in the new test.

Macdonald became aware of that not long after the exam but didn’t tell the school administration. She did, however, tell other English teachers at the school.

There was a complaint and an investigation ensued. At that time, MacDonald gave an investigator a copy of the exam, with the warning removed.

“When she was asked how this statement came to be blocked out from this copy of the Secure Exam, she said that she did not recall and thought that it was just a piece of paper on top,” Commissioner Howard Kushner wrote in his decision.

The district suspended MacDonald for a day without pay. The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation added to that penalty this week and suspended her certificate of qualification for three days — Dec. 18, 19 and 20.

In determining that a suspension is an appropriate consequence, the commissioner considered MacDonald’s dishonesty.

She had been given a short term loan of the exam to review it with a student. She was told to get rid of it after the review was over but instead chose to keep it and use it as study material.

The commissioner also took issue with the fact that, once she realized that her students had seen testing material in advance, she didn’t disclose it to the school or to district officials.

A situation of a similar kind happened that same year, with a teacher out of Coquitlam. The decision on that case was also released this week.

Albert Baker was the head of a school English department and taught one class of English 12.

For study purposes, distributed portions of “secure exams” that he obtained through his contract of services to mark English 12 provincial exams.

Because of Baker’s work marking exams, the secure exam process was very well laid out to him, according to the decision posted today.

He also knew that by giving students materials from secure exams to study, he jeopardized their final grades and academic integrity.

Nonetheless, they did receive the study material and on June 2018 his students got the real test with duplicate material within.

Once he realized what happened, he didn’t tell the school administration.

“Baker also did not tell anyone about his conduct when he was questioned by a teaching colleague and by two students about how his students had readings and questions used on the June 2018 English provincial exam before the exam,” Kushner wrote in his decision.

Baker was suspended 10 days without pay from the district, once they found out. He also had to relinquish his position as head of the English department.

The Commissioner added to that by suspending his licence for three days — Dec. 4, 5, and 6.

Both teachers agreed to these terms and are not allowed to to make any statement to contradict them.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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