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Curriculum Facts

How we're doing on standardized tests

Remember that standardized tests (like Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) and Diploma Exams) capture only one slice of student success! They do not measure hands-on skills, citizenship, creativity, the arts, or the benefits of an overall well-rounded education.   Standardized tests (like Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Exams) have a large number of students write a single test and are used as an indicator of the success of a school system in Alberta. International standardized tests such as PISA allow for comparisons among Canadian provinces, across nations and even education systems.

checkmark St. Albert students consistently score above provincial averages on most standardized tests. provincial averages graph 
checkmark In international tests like PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), only a handful of jurisdictions have consistently ranked near the top of the list – and this list includes Alberta. ranked higher than other provinces text
checkmark Education leaders from countries like Finland and Australia have visited and studied Alberta to learn how they can improve their systems. canada map

Recent history of curriculum development

Previous curriculum review process

  • Inspiring Education began more than a decade ago under the Progressive Conservative government and asked “What skills do we want a citizen in 2030 to have?”
  • Teachers and curriculum experts across the province were invited to take part, and were selected based on experience, skill, and a balance of representation from rural/urban/ suburban, Francophone, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.
  • We were excited and on board! Our division teachers were involved in every stage of the process.
  • Wide consultation was held that included parents, educators, industry, etc.
  • In 2018, draft curriculum was presented.
  • Our division was ready to proceed in piloting this curriculum.
 

Current curriculum review process

  • School divisions were not invited to take part in drafting the curriculum.
  • In December 2020, school divisions were asked to provide teacher reviewers (we were allowed two reviewers from our division), however the timeline to review and provide feedback was extremely short (a few days).
  • No parent or community consultation was held before the release of the draft.
  • After reviewing the draft curriculum, the overwhelming majority of school divisions (representing more than 95% of Alberta’s students) in the province are declining to pilot it in the 2021-22 school year, citing concerns about content, age appropriateness, sequencing and timing. 

Why do we need a new curriculum?

curriculum date
Think of how the world has changed in that time! Here’s a glimpse of when some of the current curriculum was developed:
year timeline

New curriculum is needed to include current knowledge in all of these areas. We also need a curriculum that:

  1. fosters equality and respect;
  2. affirms that every student can learn and be successful;
  3. responds to the emotional and mental health needs of students;
  4. recognizes and responds to the specific learning needs of students;
  5. promotes positive, engaging learning environments;
  6. nurtures competency development in the areas of critical thinking, problem solving, innovation and creativity; and
  7. incorporates students’ personal and cultural strengths into teaching and learning.

Our obligation to your children

teachers care text
In our opinion, the draft curriculum does not adequately:

  • recognize our obligation to establish inclusive learning environments;
  • consider student variables such as demographics, prior knowledge and cultural background;
  • allow for the application of knowledge in an age-appropriate way, within an Alberta context; or
  • support our commitment to using evidence-based pedagogy, combined with a wealth of teaching experience and an understanding of the children in our community, to provide our best for students.
 

A curriculum for all students

curriculum students image
The current draft curriculum perpetuates a Eurocentric, Christian narrative – only some of our students will see themselves in this; other Albertans are treated in a tokenistic manner, which places them as “other”.
The draft does not provide sufficient opportunities for all students to develop a knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives and experiences of our First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

Moving forward: our recommendation

Based on our review of the curriculum, as well as feedback from several school divisions across the province, our hope is that Alberta Education will:
curriculum points
new curriculum recommendations

To download this information in a PDF, please click here.

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