Vernon teacher slapped with suspension for test leak

A District No. 22 teacher used a secure exam for study prep

A Vernon English teacher who leaked a Grade 12 Provincial Examination will face a three-day suspension next month.

Maria MacDonald offered her students a former provincial exam for study purposes despite the fact it had been marked as “secure” and was not released to use as a practice aid by the Ministry of Education.

But when MacDonald’s class took the English 12 Provincial Exam on Jan. 25, 2018, some of the questions she had her students review were repeated on the new exam.

MacDonald disobeyed the school principal’s instructions to “get rid” of the secure exam after reviewing it with one student. Then she issued it out as study material to her Grade 12 students.

“MacDonald used this secure exam to prepare her students, even though she was aware that the Ministry of Education re-used readings and questions from the secure exams,” the report from the British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation said.

She was made aware the questions were repeated the day of the exam but didn’t come forward to school administration to confess the “breach of exam security.” MacDonald did, however, inform her colleagues she had shared the test as review materials.

An investigator was given the copy of the secure exam MacDonald had in her possession and the warning printed on the front of the exam had been “blocked out”. When the investigator asked why it had been altered, MacDonald said she couldn’t recall and thought “it was just a piece of paper on top,” the report reads.

That warning states the test is a secure exam and “copying, storing or sharing the exam, in part or in a whole, is a direct violation of exam security policy.”

She will serve a three-day suspension starting Dec. 18, 2019.

A Coquitlam teacher will be facing a five-day suspension, two of which were served retroactively, for a similar incident.

Albert Baker issued previously used exams to his Grade 12 students to prepare for their provincials in June 2018. Baker had received the tests while he was a test marker with the Ministry of Education between 2010 and 2018. Baker was well aware from his time working as a maker that the ministry re-used readings and questions.

“Baker breached the terms of his contract as a marker by keeping the materials he received as a marker and using and distributing them for the purpose of student exam preparation, when he knew he was not permitted to do so,” the reports read.

When questioned, Baker told district staff he had only issued three readings, “when he knew he had distributed more content from secure exams.”

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Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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