Students in the Northwest Territories will be getting a much-needed break this year when exam time comes around.

The Territory’s Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) approved a series of changes and exemptions for the Alberta Achievement Tests and Diploma Exams for the 2021-2022 school year: The former will only count for 10 per cent of each student’s final grade rather than the usual 30 per cent.

For both exams, schools now have permission to issue exemptions to students, especially those who had limited or no access to remote learning during the pandemic; And schools can issue group or class exemptions if a school needs to close during the examination period due to an outbreak.

“Changing the weighting of the exams will help maintain territorial standards, and to collect NWT-wide achievement data, while addressing the learning disruptions that have occurred since March 2020 due to COVID-19,” a statement from the ECE reads.

The diploma exams are administered to Grade 12 students for select courses; the achievement exams are issued to students in grades six and nine. Both tests are designed to evaluate student progress and achievement on an individual and group level.

Exemptions will be approved by the ECE on a case-by-case basis. Alberta is taking similar measures for its exams this year.

ECE Spokesperson Briony Grabke did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

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