As we know, all across Ontario a student requires 40 hours of community service, a pass on the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), and a minimum of 30 credits in order to graduate high school. Of those 30 credits, there are certain courses that have to be taken in order to graduate, but some of these courses vary depending on the school. For example, a student must obtain three Math credits, one Art credit, one French credit, and four English credits, as well as a variety of other courses that are essential in order to receive your Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Not only do schools and departments of education set graduation requirements, but universities set admission requirements for certain programs. In order to get into universities all of a student’s courses must be at a university academic level. Grade 12 English is a requirement for all university programs, as it is a requirement to graduate and a student must obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma in order to get accepted into a university. However, the question stands as to whether or not Grade 12 English should be a requirement.
I believe grade 12 English should not be a requirement for admission into university for many reasons.
One of the reasons is that students are required to take and pass a literacy test which tests them on their grammar, spelling, reading, and ability to understand messages portrayed through a sight passage, in order to graduate. Students who pass the literacy test have already proved that they know how to read to obtain information and write with correct grammar and spelling. That being said, if students do not need to take grade 12 English I think that the literacy test should be taken at the end of grade 11 and contain more information on it, like different essay structures and new grammar techniques taught in the later years. This would become a test to prove that students have learned all of the essential English skills to get them through university. If students do not pass the literacy test in grade 11 instead of taking a literacy test course, grade 12 English would be required.
Another reason as to why grade 12 English should not be a requirement for university is
that most programs do not require students to take English in university anyways. Unless a student is going into an English field, such as journalism, creative writing or simply just being an English teacher, generally English is not needed. Most students choose to go into a field such as engineering, health care or law. With these career paths students are encouraged to put their main focus around the sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), maths, and psychology based classes, as opposed to subjects that are not as directly linked with their future career. Also, once being accepted to a university most students are required to do an assessment to make sure they are able to keep up with level of English needed in that program.
Using the knowledge obtained from Grade 11 English, students should be able to write an university paper to a high level of efficiency, therefore Grade 12 skills are not required. Papers in university generally are more focused around the structure and proper citation, which have been drilled into our heads since the very beginning of high school. The information within the paper does not require grade 12 English as it revolves around the knowledge learned within the university course, not the grade 12 English course. Having general knowledge of formatting a university student would be able to write a successful paper to the best of their ability without any extra knowledge that is generally learned in grade 12 English.
In grade 9 English we learned how to properly format an essay and properly cite our work which was essential in my later years as an English student. We used our knowledge from grade 9 in many other courses including English courses later down the
road. Albert Einstein once said “Education is what remains when one has forgotten what one learned in school” (Einstein). Grade 9 acts as the base of education, the source that you can always come back to when you have forgotten how to do the more complex aspects of literature, as it is the basics to get you through the years to come. Grade 10 English we learned about different types of essays as well as many means of reflecting upon books we have read. Grade 11 English however, I found it extremely similar material to the information that we learned in grade 10 just with different books and different topics. I feel as though the course material of grade 12 English that is required for us to succeed later on in university and our careers could be combined with the material learned in grade 11, to save students from having to repeat course information in different level courses.
I have heard from majority of friends and family that grade 12 English in class involves a lot of public speaking in the form of presentations. Presentations are something that I strongly believe help to prepare you for your future. In many jobs, public speaking plays a huge role and if you are not a good public speaker your job can become very hard. Studies have shown that 43% of students have been choosing to take English online, which eliminates the presentation aspect of the course. I think that in the place of a grade 12 English course, students should be required to take a form of leadership course which allows them to be more comfortable with talking in front of people. I know personally that I struggle with public speaking and it is something that I wish to improve on.
My final point as to why I believe grade 12 English should not be an admission requirement for university is that I think that students should be focusing their attention to the subjects that have something to do with the career path they wish to take. By
taking English, I know from experience, students tend to put all their time and effort into reading books and finishing massive projects in order to meet deadlines, when English might not be their strong interest. As a student who loves science and math, and wants to go into the health care field I would much rather put all of my time and effort into the sciences and maths that I know I will be taking in university to help me succeed in the career of my dreams. Dr. Maria Montessori is a physician and educator who was very well known. She once said “As soon as children find something that interests them they lose their instability and learn to concentrate” (Montessori). I think this quotation is very important when talking about the education of a child because it explains that when a child is not interested in learning about a topic they will lose all concentration, but when they find interest in a topic they will be more passionate about their work. So children who do not need English in university generally did not enjoy taking it in high school and they would lack concentration when taking the course in grade 12.
English does not serve as big of a purpose in modern day as it used to and grade 12 English should not be an admission requirement for students to get into university as students already require the skills to succeed in university without it, programs generally do not require an English course to be taken in university, and English courses could be condensed down into three years.
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