Quebec is preparing to grant a major contract to move all of its departmental exams in digital format within the next eight years, of the 4e year of primary school until the college, through the year-end exams in secondary school.
The tender recently launched a “project of modernization of departmental exams” which aims at “the acquisition of a platform for services integration” that will support the design, distribution, procurement, and the correction of proofs, the analysis of their results.
A year late
It is one of the objectives of the action Plan for digital education, which provided for the launch of this call for tenders during the course of the year 2018-2019.
According to the documents released in mid-June, the project will be implemented in several phases. The timetable provides for a first experimentation with a test consisting only of multiple-choice questions in high school by April 2021. The following phases will be testing a review of science, of the uniform testing of French at the college level and the examination of French in fifth secondary.
Within five years, 90 digital proofs for 300 000 students are expected to be available.
Québec expects that the transition of 296 tests in paper version to a digital format will be completed in eight years, which will ultimately enable the 1.1 million students to complete their examinations on screen.
This shift also includes the tests conducted in vocational training and adult education.
The award of such examinations shall be done without access to the internet, but the technological tools (such as graphic calculators or dictionaries digital) should be provided, one can read.
Pascal Grégoire, professor in sciences of education at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, believes that this rfp could serve as a “catalyst for change”, as is the health crisis of today.
Quebec has announced the awarding of $ 150 million to allow schools to equip themselves with tablets or computers to be ready for any eventuality in the event of a second wave, so that most students should have access to a digital camera in the course of the next year.
The granting of this contract, which provides for a timetable with specific, could also contribute to accelerating the digital shift in the classroom, ” said Mr. Gregory, since students will need to be well prepared to carry out these reviews on the screen.
“Is this above all has been put in place so that this should not be a surprise to arrive at numerical ratings? How the schools will be able to prepare for this shift?” lance-t-il.
For its part, Thierry Karsenti, who holds the Canada research chair on digital technology in education, believes that this call is completely “decontextualized” of the reality, considering the health crisis of today.
It urges Quebec to revise the timetable for this project, in order that the departmental exams of the secondary can be made online at the end of the school year 2020-2021, if a pandemic forced to new schools to close.
“We can’t afford not to have reviews by the ministry for a second year in a row”, lance-t-il.
It has not been possible, on Thursday, to find out the estimated amount for this call for tenders. The ministry of Education refuses to disclose any financial data for it does not influence the current process.
For example, a project aimed at the experimentation of a service of correction assisted the trials of the French fifth secondary, completed in 2019, total cost was $ 554 to$500.
The cabinet of minister Jean-François Roberge, it is stated that ” the digitization of departmental exams “will give more flexibility to the school network where the occurrence of unpredictable events” such as the pandemic of COVID-19, which resulted in the closure of schools over the last few months.