Iqaluit DEA calls for end to 'social promotion'

Members of Iqaluit's District Education Authority say students shouldn't get passing grades without passing tests.

Some parents says schools doing a disservice to students

Iqaluit DEA calls for end to 'social promotion' 0:51

The idea of 'social promotion' continues to be a controversial topic in Nunavut.

It was major focus of discussion this week at a meeting of the Iqaluit District Education Authority.

The term 'social promotion' refers to the practice of allowing students to pass through grades without passing the tests.

Nunavut’s Education Department admits it moves children along, but said they're assessed regularly. Officials also prefer to refer to it as 'continuous progress' instead of 'social promotion'.

But Iqaluit DEA member Jack Anawak rejected the distinction at this week’s meeting.

"Regardless of what you call it, this is social promotion. Using their age to follow their grades and not their ability," said Anawak. 

"We're setting them up if they don't have that grade 12, even though they've graduated, then there's the sad realization that there was something missing in their education."

Anawak's comments saw widespread agreement among DEA members.

One parent said she wanted her daughter held back a grade, but she was told she'd need to write a letter to the superintendant of schools for permission.

John Maurice, a former teacher, said the idea of 'continuous progress' is a good one, but may be impossible. He said one teacher cannot teach a class full of children all working at different levels.