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Alberta's High Quality Curriculum:
Development & Implementation

Alberta has one of the best education systems in the world. One of the many reasons why is a centralized, high quality curriculum that outlines what students are expected to learn and be able to do, in all subjects and grades. Alberta's curriculum is designed to help students achieve their individual potential and create a positive future for themselves, their families and their communities.

Several countries around the world, including China, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, and Thailand, have expressed interest in our curriculum.

Programs of Study
Alberta's kindergarten to grade 12 curriculum is outlined in legal documents called Programs of Study. There is also a Kindergarten Program Statement. Each document outlines why the program is offered, what students are expected to learn and the basic principles about how students are to achieve the required knowledge, skills and attitudes. School jurisdictions use the Programs of Study to ensure that students meet provincial standards of achievement. However, they have flexibility to decide how to teach the curriculum and the order in which it is taught.

Deciding What Students Should Learn
The Alberta curriculum strives to:

  • reflect the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes that Alberta students need to be well-prepared for future learning and the world of work.
  • anticipate and plan for the needs of the future by considering the changes and developments in society such as trends in employment, globalization and advances in technology.
  • incorporate values of good citizenship and respect for different languages and cultures.
  • consider students' needs and abilities-intellectual, social, emotional and physical-at different ages and stages of growth
  • ensure that each grade provides a foundation of knowledge for successful learning in subsequent years.
  • incorporate new discoveries and theories that are generally accepted by experts in subject areas.
  • develop skills that are necessary for success in learning a subject.
  • consider new research on proven teaching methods and how students learn best.
  • reflect the most appropriate level at which the skills are to be acquired.
  • integrate how the study of a subject contributes to student personal growth and development.
  • accommodate learning in different environments.
  • consider various ways of delivering a program to students, including new technologies and use of community resources such as distance learning and workplace learning.

Who is Involved?
Alberta Education takes the lead in developing and revising provincial curriculum. However, many others, including teachers, principals, parents, education experts, post-secondary institutions and community members, play a vital role in the process. Input from various stakeholders ensures that curriculum continually meets the needs of students and that there are smooth transitions from grade to grade and to post-secondary education and the world of work.

Ensuring Curriculum Stays Current
Curriculum must provide students with the knowledge and skills needed for the present and future. Changes are made to keep it current and relevant. Curriculum revisions occur only after extensive consultations with education stakeholders.

Planning Curriculum Changes
Alberta Education plans any curriculum changes well in advance to minimize any impact on schools, teachers and students. Most often, changes are minor and do not require new teaching practices or resources. However, if it becomes clear through the regular review process that there is a need for major change, Alberta Education ensures that school jurisdictions have advance notice so they can prepare for the changes and purchase any needed resources. The Curriculum Implementation Schedule is posted on the Alberta Education Web site.

Revising Curriculum
If it is determined through the regular review process that there is a need to make minor or major revisions to the curriculum, education stakeholders play a major role in the process. Alberta Education conducts initial consultations and prepares a draft Program of Study. The draft is shared with a wide variety of education stakeholders through advisory committees, online feedback forms, conferences and presentations to teacher specialist councils. Teachers play a vital role in the process. They use their practical knowledge about a subject and about students' needs at specific age levels to provide input and feedback during the process.

Implementing Curriculum
The draft Program of Studies, developed in consultation with education stakeholders, is referred to the Minister of Education for approval. Once approved, school jurisdictions take primary responsibility for curriculum implementation. Schools may have the opportunity to pilot the program for one year prior to full provincial implementation. This year gives schools time to prepare and transition from the previous curriculum. When a curriculum is implemented province-wide, all schools must teach the new curriculum.

Alberta Education supports the implementation of new curricula by providing resource support and professional development opportunities. Alberta Education selects, acquires, develops, produces, translates and authorizes the best possible instructional materials for the implementation of approved programs of study. Funding is provided to help schools purchase authorized learning and teaching resources through the Learning Resources Centre. The LearnAlberta web site provide multimedia resources that may enhance lesson plans and provide students further review of concepts learned in class. The Ministry provides orientation for school jurisdiction leaders and lead teachers about curriculum changes and shares updates at professional conferences and in-services. Professional development funds are provided to six Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia. Each Regional Consortia organizes and provides activities to respond to in-service needs identified locally. This may include information and orientation sessions related to curriculum revisions.

Alberta's high quality curriculum ensures that students have a well-rounded and comprehensive education. The curriculum ensures that they are well-prepared for the future, including post-secondary education and world of work.

More Information
For information on what students are expected to learn and be able to do for each grade level, refer to the Curriculum Handbooks for Parents or the Curriculum Summaries at www.education.gov.ab.ca/parents/handbooks/. To view Programs of Study, visit www.education.gov.ab.ca/k_12/curriculum/bySubject/.

 

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