By Jodi Stewart
Last June my older daughters enrolled in the ILC run by TVO and funded by the Ministry of Education. They did it as a trial run, just to see if they liked the program and if it would work for our high school years. Daughter 1 enrolled in grade 9 geography, daughter 2 in grade 9 art. Each course had 4 units to be completed and submitted for marking by an ILC teacher.
Things were going well, work was submitted, corrected and sent back. All went swimmingly until daughter 2 submitted her second unit. It came back with a 72%. Decent mark, but the comments from the teacher made me pause. The teacher had scrawled notes all over Daughter’s work with references to Lesson 16. Notes, charts, diagrams, all with the message that the teacher docked marks because Daughter didn’t use the Art Criticism technique taught in Lesson 16. That makes sense right? Except that Lesson 16 is in Unit 4. The teacher was marking Unit 2.
Honest mistake I thought. But no problem, the ILC has an appeal process, we’ll just send it back with a note clarifying that Daughter hadn’t reviewed Unit 4. We submitted it, and waited. I waited two weeks, not hearing anything about the appeal process and finally emailed. No response. I then called. The receptionists and learner service operators had no answers. Finally after 3 weeks of calling, I got transferred to the manager in charge of appeals. Manager told me she’d have some answers the following day. The following day, there were no answers. A week later Manager still had no answers, someone was going to talk to the teacher.
Finally, I started tweeting about it. I made sure it went to the attention of @tvo. After 2 or 3 days of tweeting my frustration at not being able to even get someone talk to me on the phone, TVO twitter guy got something done. Manager called me. She actually took the time to explain the appeal process, guaranteed me that she would look over the work when the teacher had submitted it. Great. Finally someone had listened.
Well, that’s what I thought. Yesterday I talked to Manager. Great news, they had it all sorted out. The teacher had just made a slight error. She had meant to refer Daughter to Question 16, not Lesson 16. Ohhhh… Except Question 16 is about Ancient Mesopotamia, not Art Criticism.
It appears to me that Teacher not only made a mistake, she lied to cover it. Manager and I both had a copy of Unit 2 in front of us. Manager and I both saw that Question 16 was about Ancient Mesopotamia. Of course the ILC saw that there was a problem with the mark now, right?
Wrong. No kidding. Be flabbergasted. I am. Apparently, despite the notes about Art Criticism scrawled all over Daughter’s work, the Art Criticism technique is now not an issue for them and didn’t affect Daughter’s mark. (Huh?)
So that’s where we stand. I’m still waiting for the principal’s call that was promised to come yesterday afternoon.