Binks Is Here

Commentary on the World

Strange ELPE Decision...

Yesterday’s Daily Bulletin stated that by the end of orientation activities next week, “everybody,” referring to the new first-year students, “will have taken the English Proficiency Exam.” Not so, as a faithful and punctilious reader promptly pointed out. Only students in Engineering, Software Engineering and Math will write next week. Students in AHS, Arts, Environment, Science, and Computing and Financial Management will write on December 4. Ann Barrett of the writing centre explains why: “Last year we had a problem with so many students and too few seats in the PAC. After consulting with faculty administrators, we have made changes to ensure that all students will get a seat and our staff will be able to mark exams within our time line.”

Obviously from the Waterloo Daily Bulletin. Seems strange that they’re doing this - you’d think it would’ve been better to open up a few other large classes on campus to get through students during Frosh week; it’s one less thing for students to worry about as exams inch closer.

It’s 6 of one or a half-dozen of the other - either you pay more staff to open up more rooms in September, or you pay more staff to open the PAC in December.

My favourite part has to be this, though: “we have made changes to ensure that all students will get a seat and our staff will be able to mark exams within our time line”. Yeah… marking all those ELPE tests would take a lot of time, but I don’t think you make the marking go faster by having some people write the test three months later.

I mean, the intent of the test is “identify students who have english trouble early, so as to give them the help they need to succeed”. That’s how it was sold to the University administration, I’m sure. “There aren’t enough people in my office - it’s cold in the winter. I need more people to let off body heat” just isn’t compelling. The test as it is currently looks like a detriment to students - by the time an Arts student is identified as having trouble, he’s already failed his first term. Even those students who are great at English have another thing hanging over their heads; finals are stressful enough.

So - while the original program was probably valuable, the new change is dumb, won’t save money, won’t make things go faster, and makes the entire program less than worthless (arguably harmful to some students).

Yeah… that’s the Waterloo way all right. Everyone having fun with PDEng?

It’s times like this that I miss the “good old days” when students spoke out. The school could switch the toilet paper to poison ivy and students would just accept it.