British Columbia

UBC to use Grade 11 marks for early admissions

The University of B.C. has opted to use Grade 11 marks to offer early admission to some Grade 12 students because of the province's teachers' job action.

Admissions head disagrees with decision based on 'manfactured crisis'

The University of B.C. has opted to use Grade 11 marks to offer early admission to some Grade 12 students because of the province's teachers' job action.

Under the new guidelines the university will consider Grade 11 marks for the first time along with completed Grade 12 courses to make early offers of admission to some B.C. students in mid-April,

The move is intended to allow the school to make admissions offers matching the same time frame as previous years.

But UBC' s associate director of undergraduate admissions Michael Bluhm says no students will be disadvantaged if their Grade 11 marks are not good enough for early admission.

"We want to assure parents and students that no one will be penalized for Grade 11 marks... It is simply a way to get offers out earlier," said Bluhm.

"The provision to look to substitution of Grade 11 grades where needed, is only to make positive admission decisions, to give the answer yes, not to deliver the answer no," he said.

The university will make its final admissions decision in May, once official Grade 12 marks are provided by the Ministry of Education.

"As in previous years, we will keep spaces open for B.C. students until Grade 12 marks can be considered in May."

"We expect no changes as a result of this approach in the number of students coming to UBC from B.C. public schools."

Controversial decision

The decision came in a vote after a stormy session in the UBC Senate meeting Wednesday night.

The head of the admissions committee, Richard Anstee, said he strongly disagreed with the decision, calling it, "a manufactured crisis."

Anstee said the new admissions policy was "flawed," "full of problems" and "unfair to students".

Other universities, including Simon Fraser and the University of Victoria are accepting unofficial Grade 12 marks statements signed off by teachers and school administrators.

But UBC has raised concerns about verification of the marks, because they are self-reported by students on their applications.

"UBC has a longstanding requirement that the information we use is documented and accessible to all applicants across the province in the same manner. In the past that's been report cards," said Bluhm.

But one Grade 12 student, whose name CBC is withholding as she was a minor at the time, said she worked extra hard this year to make sure she'd be accepted to UBC's science program and fears the process will leave her hanging.

"You need 90 minimum, I have well over that, so I had confidence that I was going to get into my faculty. Using Grade 11, I don't reach the minimum for my faculty," she said.

The student has applied to other universities and says she is not sure if she will be able wait to hear from UBC in May.

"What am I going to do now? Am I going to decline the offer I have and wait for this one?"

With files from the CBC's Ayesha Bhatty