Answering Your Questions on Marks, Exams, Summer School, Graduations and more

Answering Your Questions on Marks, Exams, Summer School, Graduations and more
Posted on 05/01/2020
Answering Your Questions on Marks, Exams, Summer School, Graduations and more

Dear OCDSB Families:

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of you for your support during this difficult time. It has been truly amazing to watch the OCDSB community come together and support our students in their learning at home.

Extension of School Closures

As you know, the Minister has announced that school closures will continue until at least May 31, 2020. The Minister has provided this letter for all Ontario parents.

Your Thoughts Had an Impact

After one week of operation, we asked parents and students to share their experience with learning at home. Over 7,000 people responded and shared over 8900 thoughts. Read the feedback - Parents K-8Parents 9-12; overall feedback summary.

Your input was very thoughtful and it has helped us to make some adjustments to better support students and families.


We have a thank you campaign underway to express our thanks to everyone working on the frontline to support our community. Learn more here.

Parent Resources

We continue to update our website with resources to support parents and students with learning at home.  We have translated many resources into Arabic, including our Learn At Home plan and our website translation tool.

Answering Your Questions

We wanted to provide answers to many of the questions that you have been asking about assessment, evaluation and end of year activities. These questions and answers have also been shared with students in grades 7-12 directly.

Q1: Does it really matter if students do the Learn At Home Work from April to June?

A. Yes it does. Some people think marks are the only thing that matter, but that’s not true.  What matters most is the learning. Teachers are working to ensure that students learn all the key concepts so that they will be ready for next year. Students will continue to be assigned tasks and assignments, receive feedback and levels for the work completed from April 6 through to the end of June. Engaging in this learning will help them to be ready for next year.

Q2: It seems like a lot more than 5 or 10 hours per week (elementary) or 3 hours per course (secondary). Why?

A: If this is your experience, it is really important to communicate this to the teacher. Learning at Home is still new for everybody - for students, parents and teachers. If you have concerns about the amount of work, please let the teacher know so they can adjust the work assigned. As always, guidance counsellors, principal and vice-principals are also available to support you.

Q3: Can students improve marks?

A: Yes. The report card mark will not be lower than the mark the student had on March 13th.  But the mark could be higher if the student is actively engaged in the Learn At Home work and improves achievement. This looks different for every class and student, but talk with the teacher for more information about how your child can improve their marks. For secondary students, the student evidence record is one way that you may be able to see the evidence of your learning in the course both before and after March 13.  

Q4: I am worried about my child failing a course, what should I do?

A: If you child is struggling in a course, please share your concerns with the teacher.  If a secondary student is at risk of not earning the credit, contact the guidance counsellor.  The guidance counsellor can support, help identify and solve problems, and connect you with additional supports such as credit rescue. Work on credit rescue is underway and will continue. Your teachers, guidance counsellors, student success teachers and principals/vice-principals are all here to help and support you.

Q5: Will there be any more PA Days?

A: No, the remaining PA Days have been cancelled. They will be used for instruction.

Q6: Will there be exams for secondary students?

A: No, the Ministry of Education has cancelled all Ontario exams. Exam days will be used for instruction.

Q7: Will there be summatives?

Yes, there will be summative tasks. These will vary by course. The number of summatives will not be increased because exams were cancelled. Teachers are working through what the summatives will look like and how they contribute to student marks. More information will come as soon as possible.

Q8: What will happen with graduation/commencement and leaving ceremonies?

A: To ensure safety, all grade 12 commencement ceremonies will be delayed until Fall 2020, subject to public health direction at that time. For students in grades 6 or 8 who would normally have leaving ceremonies as they transition to a new school, plans will be developed to celebrate virtually in June.  As we move towards the end of the year, we will be seeking input on ideas and input on ways we can virtually celebrate the end of the school year.  

Q9: How do secondary students get midterm marks?

A: Grade 12 students will be able to access their marks through Career Cruising as of May 1st.  Click here for instructions on how to access marks. Students in Grades 9-11 will receive their marks by May 8th.

Q10: What is the deadline for dropping a course in grade 11/12 before it appears on a student’s permanent transcript?

A: Students taking a grade 11 or grade 12 course, and considering withdrawing (dropping) from it, need to withdraw from the course on or before May 15th in order for it not to appear on their transcript. After May 15th, even if a student withdraws from the course, both the course and your mark as of May 1st will show on the official transcript. If a student decides to drop a course, please email the guidance counsellor to make arrangements to withdraw from the course. If you child is in grade 12, please be sure to consider the impact of withdrawing on the total number of credits required for graduation.

Q11: What if I need or want to attend Summer School?

A: Registration for summer school opens Monday, May 4th. All summer school classes will be offered online; no in school programming will be available. Students can take reach ahead or credit recovery courses. Register now by contacting your guidance counsellor for details. You will find more information here.

Q12: Will Reach Ahead credits available this summer for students in Grade 8?

Students who are in Grade 8 can enrol in a grade 9 Reach Ahead credit course. Courses are offered over the summer and are online only. Speak with your child’s Grade 8 teacher and they will help you to register. Registration will open on Monday, May 4th. Learn more about summer school here.

We know there are still many questions about the extended closure. We are working to get answers for you. We also wanted to thank the many parents and students who are working to support their communities during this difficult time. We know that the restrictions placed on people due to COVID-19 can impact our mental health and well-being. It’s common to have good days and bad days.  It is important to encourage children to speak about their feelings. The Kids Help Phone offers 24/7, confidential nation-wide support service and students can call them at 1-800-668-6868, text or online chat.

Take care,

Camille Williams-Taylor

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