Imbroglio or Quiproquo? Make your Pick!

by Lyne des Roberts alias La Dame dragon

Can things get more confused than they already are? Of course! Who likes simple, concrete and clear stuff anyways? The Public Service Commission of Canada certainly does not! Vivent les trucs compliqués! Create confusion and, then, you will make sure no one will ever challenge you or what you do… It reminds me of the last referendum question on the independence of Québec in 1995: I am convinced a panel of linguists had worked for months to come up with a question so confusing (but grammatically correct with perfect semantics) that many people opposed to separation were tempted to answer OUI… Big mistake! Because they would have been saying YES to independence…

Today, we finally received Jenn’s results : she got a very strong C… she missed the E (exemption) only by 2 points… Congratulations girl! I was not expecting anything else from you! I am so proud! Now we can go for that drink and, trust me, I intend to celebrate our victory over the system BIG TIME!

When the written expression test was modified on June 2, 2008… although it had been shortened by 15 questions (65 instead of 80)… the Commission had stated that the required marks for each level would remain the same (unless I was misled by confusion… see, I am not used – yet! – to the government culture regarding the wording of their texts… perhaps I misunderstood the message after all!)… I thought it was odd and quite unfair… I am no genius in maths but I know how to count my small change: 46/80 (57.5%) vs 46/65 (70.8%) for a B, then 57/80 (71.25%) vs 57/65 (87.7%) for a C and, finally, 63/80 (78.75%) vs 63/65 (96.9%) for an E does make a huge difference!!! Hopefully everyone agrees with me on that!

After a close look at the results, we realized the scale had actually changed. Jenn got a strong C with 55/65… after a quick check on the Commission’s website, we found out that the marks had been modified (again!):

  • B = 33/65 (50.8%)
  • C = 47/65 (72.3%)
  • E = 57/65 (87.7%)

From my analysis, having for starting point the marks required before June the 2nd (80 questions), they substantially lowered the standards for the B level, they slightly raised the standards for the C level and… they dramatically raised the standards for the E level (that makes sense!)… Are you still following me? I admit I have some hard time trying to figure this out myself… so be patient!

Since I do not think like them (whoever “them”are!), I just do not get it! Indeed I am more lost than the survivors of Oceanic 815 in the TV series LOST… et c’est peu dire! When I will have an answer, I will let you know… for now, I am speechless!

That brings me back to poor Dave… Because of our request for special accommodations (okay, they did accommodate him regarding the formatting and the time… but, for the rest, in your dreams!) placed in January, they gave him the 80 question version of the written expression test on June 16 and June 20 (keep in mind that this version was replaced by the 65 question version on June 2 and therefore declared not valid after that date!). Consequently, he will need 46 good answers to get his B (57.5%)… with the 65 question version, he would have needed 33 good answers (50.8%). Is it fair??? Well… count on me to shake the tree because I will not be satisfied with whatever results he will get… and I will fight it until we get satisfaction! And… since they screwed up made a mistake on the reading test as well, I know we have everything in hands to win this battle… and I will not give up!

Unfortunately, this story is true… it is a perfect example of “reality is sometimes beyond fiction”… I think the Public Service Commission of Canada should have a door plate with this inscription on it:

“I do not avoid confusion… I create it!”



This blog moved here, if you ever are interested in reading more on those issues…




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