Graduation Assessments: Questions and Answers

► What are the new literacy and numeracy graduation assessments?

They are two new provincial assessments required for graduation. They are broad-based measures of a student’s literacy and numeracy skills.

► What is the purpose of the new literacy and numeracy graduation assessments?

  • They are a graduation requirement for all students.
  • Students may use them after graduation as evidence of their literacy and numeracy skills.
  • They provide system-level information on performance in the areas of literacy and numeracy.
  • They help inform decision-making at all levels of the system (school, district, student, province).

► What do the new literacy and numeracy assessments measure?

The assessments measure foundational literacy and numeracy abilities that have been learned across multiple subjects. Within the new curriculum, students’ proficiency in literacy and numeracy is developed over the course of their education. The assessments will ask critical-thinking and problem-solving questions within relevant contexts and scenarios.

► What are the definitions of literacy and numeracy?

For the purpose of these new provincial assessments, literacy and numeracy are defined as follows:

Literacy is the ability and willingness to make meaning from text and express oneself in a variety of modes and for a variety of purposes. Literacy includes making connections, analyzing critically, comprehending, creating, and communicating.

Numeracy is the ability, willingness, and perseverance to interpret and apply mathematical understanding to solve problems in contextualized situations, and to analyze and communicate these solutions in ways relevant to the given context.

► Who is developing the new literacy and numeracy assessments?

The literacy and numeracy assessments are being developed by practicing educators from across the province and the Yukon and are informed by post-secondary experts. Numeracy and literacy specialists and measurement experts review all assessments to ensure they are fair, technically sound, rigorous and valid.

The designs of the new assessments are based on recommendations from the Advisory Group on Provincial Assessment (AGPA).

► How are the new literacy and numeracy assessments aligned with the new curricula?

Literacy and numeracy are foundational across all curriculum areas. The new assessments measure literacy and numeracy as applied in relevant scenarios and contexts.

► Will the new literacy and numeracy assessments be tied to a course?

No. Because these are broad-based measures, the assessments will not be tied to a course mark.

► What types of questions will be on the new literacy and numeracy assessments?

The assessments consist of both selected-response questions (e.g., multiple choice, sequencing) and constructed-response questions (e.g., written answer, problem-solving).

► When will samples of the new assessments be available?

Samples will be posted to the Graduation Assessments page by the following dates:

September 2017 - Numeracy
June 2019 - Literacy

► When will students write the new assessments?

There will be a managed implementation of the numeracy assessment starting with a subset of students writing in January 2018.  Students in the 2018 Graduation Program who do not write in January will have the opportunity to write in June or August 2018 or a subsequent school year. If you are unsure if your school or student is part of the January cohort, please contact exams@gov.bc.ca.

The literacy assessment will be introduced in the 2019/20 school year (all Language Arts 12 examinations will continue until that time, and then be phased out in the process). See provincial exam transition and graduation details.

► How will the assessments be reported?

A student’s overall result will be reported on a four-category proficiency scale. Each category on the proficiency scale will have a corresponding description indicating what skills the student has demonstrated to attain that level.

► Do students need to attain a certain proficiency category to graduate?

No. Students are not required to reach a minimum proficiency category in order to graduate; however, they will be required to complete the assessment to graduate. 

The intention is to allow students to demonstrate their “best level of proficiency,” which will be shown on their transcript, and thereby provide an additional piece of evidence of a student’s achievement. 

► Will students be allowed to rewrite the new assessments to improve their placement on the proficiency scale?

Yes. Students will be encouraged to reach their maximum proficiency. They will be permitted to attempt the literacy or numeracy assessment a total of three times each during the graduation years (10-12) in order to improve their placement on the proficiency scale. Their best outcome will be recorded on their final transcript.

► What information will show on the student’s transcript?

Student results on the literacy and numeracy assessments will appear as a stand-alone item on their transcript. Assessment results are one piece of evidence of a student’s achievement for use in a post-secondary or employment setting.

► How is assessment information used?

The results from these assessments will serve as one piece of evidence of a student’s achievement. The results will appear on student transcripts as a category on a proficiency scale. Post-secondary institutions may use this information as value-added information when determining admission requirements.

The Province reviews and monitors student performance and the performance of groups of students. The results of the assessments are also used to provide information to citizens regarding the performance of BC students in key areas and to maintain public confidence in the education system.

Schools and districts may use the information from graduation assessments as an indicator of student performance in literacy and numeracy. They may also use the results for program planning, resource allocation, and monitoring trends in student achievement over time.

► How will the assessments affect scholarships?

Scholarship criteria will not change for the 2017/18 year; the numeracy assessment will not affect scholarships at this time.