Alberta's new provincial curriculum is under development
Alberta Education is engaged in a six-year project in which they are updating the K-12 curriculum province-wide. Curriculum, or the Program of Studies, outlines what students are expected to learn in each subject, for each grade. An up-to-date curriculum is needed to prepare our students with the skills and knowledge they need for the 21st century. This new curriculum will be developed through a digital platform.
This six-year project will focus on updating six subject areas:
- Language Arts (English, French Immersion, Francophone)
- Social Studies
- Arts Education (Dance, Music, Drama, Visual Arts)
- Wellness Education (Health, Physical Education, CALM).
Subject Learning Outcomes are what students are expected to know, understand, and be able to do in each subject and grade. They include explicit cross-curricular competencies and skills and are built on a foundation of literacy and numeracy across all subjects and grades. The new curriculum will take into consideration the use of technology and the inclusion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit and Francophone cultures and perspectives across all subjects and grades, as appropriate.
The new curriculum will consist of three common features that ensure consistency. These three features are:
Common architecture and design:
- In addition to conforming to the common principles and standards, curriculum also has a common architecture and design to help teachers plan learning experiences.
- The architecture is the systematic and logical arrangement of the common components of provincial curriculum.
- The design explains the relationships among the components identified in the architecture of provincial curriculum.
Common approach to the development of learning outcomes:
- The common approach to defining the scope and depth of learning outcomes and the associated competencies in curriculum ensures equity of learning opportunities for all students.
- The use of common language results in a high level of consistency across curriculum, while at the same time recognizing and preserving the nature of knowledge—its customs and practices—that is specific to a particular subject.
- This enables teachers to communicate both across subjects and grades with students, parents/guardians and colleagues.
The creation of the new curriculum has many phases of development
- The shaping phase involves reviewing the strengths and gaps in Alberta’s current curriculum, looking at current research for each subject, identifying the evolving needs of students, a review of the curriculum in other provinces, territories and countries, and input from Albertans.
- The fall 2016 online provincial curriculum survey helped confirm the direction of our work and provided feedback on the current K-12 provincial curriculum. A summary of survey responses is posted. It is important to point out that the survey is one of the many pieces that are helping inform provincial curriculum development.
- The developing phase involves Alberta Education drafting the future curriculum. Curriculum Working Groups comprised of teachers, post-secondary professors and instructors, and Alberta Education staff began development of future provincial curriculum in six subject areas of Language Arts (English, Français, French), Mathematics, Social Studies, Sciences, Arts, and Wellness Education in October 2016.
- The first step in the developing phase is to write the draft subject introduction and the draft scope and sequence for each K-12 subject. The second step in the developing phase is the review and validation of the draft curriculum by Albertans, including teachers, post-secondary professors and instructors.
- The development of learning outcomes in the six subject areas began in fall 2017. The cycle of developing learning outcomes and validating the draft curriculum elements will continue through to December 2022.
The Implementing Phase
- The implementing phase involves determining the implementation timelines for future curriculum and how we will work with our stakeholders in supporting implementation of provincial curriculum. Alberta Education is preparing to initiate discussions with education stakeholders in fall 2017 on developing a provincial implementation model.
- Current curriculum remains in effect until future provincial curriculum is approved by the Minister of Education. Timelines for implementation of future provincial curriculum have yet to be set.
Curriculum Working Groups
- In October 2016, Curriculum Working Groups began development of the future provincial curriculum for Alberta Education’s consideration.
- Curriculum Working Groups are made up of ministry staff, K–12 teachers, post-secondary professors and instructors, inclusive education and early learning specialists, and educators who have in-depth knowledge and hands on experience within subjects and across grades. They include a balanced representation of Alberta’s geographic and demographic diversity, and also include representation from Francophone and First Nations, Métis and Inuit teachers.
- Curriculum Working Group members were nominated by Alberta school authorities (public, separate, francophone and charter/private), First Nations Superintendents/Education Directors, the ATA, and by post-secondary institutions.
- Focus Groups are reviewing and providing feedback on draft curriculum during the developing phase. Teacher and Educator Focus Groups are made up of teachers and educators who have in-depth knowledge and hands on experience within subjects and across grades.
- Education Stakeholder Focus Groups are made up of representatives of education stakeholder organizations that will review and provide insights to the overall subject content.
- Focus Group members were nominated by Alberta school authorities (public, separate, francophone and charter/private), First Nations and Métis organizations, the ATA, post-secondary institutions, and education stakeholder organizations.
Introductions, Scope and Sequences
- Alberta Education has released the draft Subject Introductions and Scope and Sequences for the new curriculum. They can be accessed here:
- Language Arts
- Mathematics Introduction/Scope & Sequence
- Social Studies Introduction/Scope & Sequence
- Sciences Introduction/Scope & Sequence
- Arts Education Introduction
- Wellness Education Introduction
The cycle of developing learning outcomes and validating the draft curriculum elements will continue through to December 2022. Alberta Education’s targeted timelines for completion of curriculum development are:
- Grades K-4, December 2018
- Grades 5-8, December 2019
- Grades 9-10 (3 subject areas), December 2020
- Grades 9-10 (3 subject areas) and 11-12 (3 subject areas), December 2021
- Grades 11-12 (3 subject areas), December 2022
The date for the launch of new curriculum is still being determined by the province.
Alberta Education have had, and will continue to have, several opportunities for parents and students to be involved throughout the rewriting of the new curriculum.
To Learn More
Visit Alberta Education’s website for more information about:
- Curriculum Development Pathway (graphic showing the process and timeline)