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>> The Alberta School System

The Alberta Kindergarten to Grade 12 school system includes programs for pre-school, elementary, junior high school and senior high school students. After senior high, students may choose to continue their studies at the post-secondary level at universities, colleges, or technical institutes. The following chart outlines Alberta's grade system and general corresponding age levels.

Grades Age Category
Kindergarten (K) 4-6 years Pre-school
1-6 6-12 years Elementary
7-9 12-15 years Junior High
10-12 15-18 years Senior High

The Elementary (Primary) School System
Elementary education covers the first seven years of schooling (Kindergarten to Grade 6). In Kindergarten, students are introduced to the basics in literacy and math, the school environment and learn to cooperate with others. From Grades 1-6, classes are held for approximately 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. Students study the following subject matters: language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts and physical education. Some schools also offer religious instruction or additional languages.

The Secondary School System
After elementary school, students enter the secondary school system. The secondary school system is divided into junior high (Grades 7 to 9), also known as middle school in some regions, and senior high school (Grades 10 to 12).

A variety of programs are offered to prepare students for the workplace or to meet university entrance requirements. Students have required courses as well as optional courses.

Required Courses
All students must study the following subjects: English or French language arts, mathematics, sciences, social studies, physical education and Career and Life Management (CALM). Schools with religious affiliation may also require students to participate in religious or moral instruction.

Optional courses
The availability of optional courses varies from school to school. Optional courses may include the following: second languages, fine arts, music, health, home economics, personal and social skills training, vocational training, and computer and technology studies. Each school has staff that will help students choose courses that meet their present needs and future goals.

Alberta grants secondary diplomas to students based on a credit system. To complete senior high, students must be awarded 100 credits. Students are awarded credits for each course they complete with satisfactory results. In addition, Grade 12 students must write and pass diploma examinations in core subject areas to graduate. Diploma examinations are provincially administered and account for 50 percent of the students' final grade in the course. For more information on Graduation Requirements, please visit Alberta Educationís Guide to Education.

The Post-Secondary School System
Once secondary school has been successfully completed, a student may wish to apply to a university, college, or technical institute. In general, colleges and technical institutes award diplomas or certificates only; they do not award university degrees. Universities offer programs leading to degrees. To explore options available in the post-secondary system visit Alberta Advanced Education's international student website


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