OACS responds to Maclean’s article on private schools issuing grades for fees | Edvance Christian Schools Association
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OACS responds to Maclean’s article on private schools issuing grades for fees

Written on December 7th, 2009

‘We guard very strenuously against mark inflation in our schools,’ says director of secondary services

The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) is responding to a Nov. 6 Maclean’s article on private schools that issue top grades for fees.

According to the article, “Can high school grades be trusted?” some operations are using students desperate to get into university as “cash cows.”

“As long as a student slaps down hundreds of dollars per credit — in some cases as much as $1,500 — these schools are happy to oblige with marks in the 80s and 90s, whether the student earns them or not,” the article states.

OACS director of secondary services Gary VanArragon says the message that needs to be put forward is that while a few summer programs offered by independent schools may be less than credible, this is not indicative of what happens at all independent schools.

“The vast majority of schools across Canada that are listed as private schools are very credible … where grade inflation is not an issue and has never even suggested to be an issue,” says VanArragon.

Speaking on behalf of OACS member schools in particular, he says they do not engage in this practice.

“Our schools are very credible, our graduates are very successful in universities, and we guard very strenuously against mark inflation,” says VanArragon, noting there are several reasons not to offer grades for fees.

In addition to holding to a higher moral law which includes the tenet of honesty, independent schools in Ontario are rigorously inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Education every two years, as well as being subject to unannounced visits in the interim.

“If the Ministry of Education saw that we were selling credits for fees we’d get shut down instantly, as we well should,” says VanArragon.

He also notes that the practice does nothing to benefit students in the long-term.

If a student gains admission to a university on the basis of an inflated grade, the lack of integrity will become apparent, which could not only jeopardize the student’s career but the school’s reputation as well.

“People will realize very quickly that although the credit may appear on paper, the learning has not been accomplished and the student has not, in fact, been prepared for university.”

VanArragon is submitting a letter to Maclean’s on behalf of the OACS about this issue.