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Vernon high school teacher suspended for sharing parts of 'secure exams' with students

A Vernon high school teacher who made copies of provincial exams to share with his Grade 12 students and then lied about it to his superiors has had his teaching licence suspended for three days.

According to a B.C. Commissioner for Teachers Regulation decision Dec. 5, School District No. 22 (Vernon) English teacher Jay Alexander Kohlman agreed to a consent resolution agreement regarding the fact of the incident and the suspension.

The decision says during the 2017-2018 school year Kohlman took sample questions from a "secure exam" and distributed them to his students in preparation for their exams.

According to the decision, Kohlman, who has taught at an unnamed Vernon area high school since becoming a registered teacher in 1995, made it "general practice" to obtain a copy of the English 12 Provincial Examination and use it to make sample exams to prepare his students.

While the exam had been previously given to students, Ministry of Education rules prohibited the exam from being copied as the Ministry re-uses readings and questions from the exams.

According to the decision, "copying, storing or sharing this exam in part or in whole, is a direct violation of exam security policy," is written on the front of the exam.

In January 2018 on the day his students were sitting the exam, Kohlman asked the school's vice-principal if he could look at the English 12 Provincial Exam so he could "support his students" after the exam. The vice-principal allowed him, and Kohlman then made a copy of it.

When he returned the exam to the vice-principal he was asked if he'd made a copy of it and Kohlman said he had not. However, Kohlman later showed a copy to a colleague.

In June 2018 a Ministry employee made a complaint against Kohlman and in September the School District made a report about Kohlman and submitted it to the Ministry.

During the Vernon School District's investigation, Kohlman lied and said he had not used any content from a secure exam to teach his students. In September 2018 the school district suspended him for one day without pay. The Teachers' Commission extended the punishment suspending Kohlman for three days in December 2019.

In the decision, the Commission says a suspension is an "appropriate consequence" for Kohlman's "dishonesty."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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