Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Changes coming for province's graduation program

Starting in September of 2019 students entering their final years of secondary school in British Columbia will be entering into the launch of a modernized graduation program, as well as an innovative new curriculum.

The changes introduced by Education Minister Rob Fleming are  designed to put a focus on developing foundation skills such as reading, writing and math, while also helping to build a range of competencies that employers and post secondary institutions are looking for, with a shift towards creative and analytical skills, entrepreneurial skills and leadership.

Towards those goals students will benefit from a range of new course options that follow a number of disciplines, such as environmental science, web development, digital media, engineering and robotics.

Two new career education programs have also been designed to give students an opportunity to explore career pathways and to develop the skills required to manage their career and life transitions.

“All students deserve to graduate with the necessary skills and competencies to help them continue learning and excel in the jobs of tomorrow. We’re pioneering important changes in classrooms today to make sure all students have the opportunity to explore where they want to go in life and build bright futures for themselves.” --  Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.

Curriculum change and a new focus on Indigenous studies will be on the
way to BC's Secondary schools starting in September of 2019

As part of the changes there will also be three new mandatory graduation assessments introduced, with students required to write assessments for Grade 10 numeracy, Grade 10 literacy and Grade 12 literacy.

The results will be reported as stand alone items on student transcripts and will replace the course based provincial exams. They are designed to evaluate essential numeracy and literacy abilities that are developed across many areas of learning and grades, rather than through content knowledge from one particular course.

Students in Grades 10 to 12 will still receive report cards with letter grades and percentages for all courses, and will continue to be required to complete at least 80 credits for graduation.

An expanded focus on Indigenous education is also set to be introduced to the K-12 curriculum, with the new initiative designed to ensure that Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are woven across all grades and areas of learning.

“Education is a key part of reconciliation, and we know that it’s crucial for Indigenous knowledge and history to be embedded in the learning that happens in the classroom for the benefit of all students,”  ... “We’re committed to improving results for Indigenous students and increasing the presence of Indigenous languages, culture and history throughout all subject matter in B.C. schools.” -- Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.

When school returns in September 2019 several new Indigenous focused courses will be offered including Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12 and B.C. First Peoples 12.  

As well, 17 Indigenous languages have been approved for instruction in BC schools, with six more currently in development.

Teachers are also being supported to include Indigenous content, both historical and contemporary into all of the subject matter of the school day.

Much of the work leading to Friday's announcement has already been put in place, with the New K-9 curriculum introduced in September of 2016, followed by a Grade 10 curriculum in September of this year.

The numeracy assessment program was introduced at the Grade 10 level during the 2017-18 school year and is being used again this year.

Local school districts, including SD52 on the North Coast will be explaining the changes further for parents and guardians as the program planning continues to work towards implementation day.

More background on the elements of the changes can be explored below:

A wider overview of notes from School District 52 as well as from across the Northwest can be found here.

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