Are entrance exams for private schools necessary?
There's talk about leaning away from entrance exams for private high schools as some question their value of preparing students for the school year, something that can be a stressful and costly process.
Some private high schools say the whole process surrounding the entry exam , including special tutors, courses, manuals, is what's leading to the poor performance and failure rate of many students during the regular curriculum, with students being overprepared for the exams but underprepared for the program.
The Quebec federation representing private schools says some of their members have already replaced the entrance exam with something else, such as a placement test that would put students in classes according to their capabilities, or evaluating students by their grades from elementary schools.
"I think what the exams show is how good the kids are at taking exams," said Elizabeth Robertson, whose son Robert is going through the admission process now. She added it is indeed stressful and likes the idea of doing away with the entrance exam.
"I think it would be great. I'm not sure they need anything else because they have the kids' report card."
The federation is also suggesting a single province-wide entrance exam, something Loyola High School principal Paul Donovan likes.
"There needs to be something in common that the students have. To ignore report cards and the interviews and things like that would be detrimental to the admission process," said Donovan, who is also president of the Quebec Association of Independent Schools.
"I think what it helps most is on the extremes, the kids who are sort of in the middle. What we use it for, our criteria is not just to pick the top students. What we're looking for is just to make sure they'll be able to handle the program," Donovan told CJAD 800 News.
Some schools also conduct interviews with the prospective students and parents in addition to other critieria instead of using an entrance exam.
Photo: CJAD 800 News