July 6th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 27
Curriculum redesign in Alberta
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: Alberta Education website
Pass Herald Reporter
In September, Alberta Education will undertake a $64 million curriculum redesign to change what’s being taught in the province’s classrooms but parents should know and take comfort in the fact that their kids are pretty smart.

According to recent international tests Alberta’s K-12 students remain at the top of international rankings.

Out of the 74 jurisdictions from around the world that took part in a survey called the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Alberta ranked eleventh in math, fifth in reading, and fourth in science. Of particular note is that Alberta's 15 year olds are significantly outperforming Alberta's adults in these rankings.

The Pass Herald caught up with Danny Roberts, director of Learning Services for Livingstone Range School Division No. 68, to get his take on the coming changes.

Why is the province pursuing a redesign at this time?

“The content and delivery methods for subjects in Alberta schools has always been subject to revision. In the past, these revisions were typically done course-by-course. Some subjects have been revised several times in the past years, while other courses have seen little or no revision for decades. This means that some of our curriculum is out of synch with research on best teaching practices, and the realities of 21st century learning.”
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What’s new about the recently announced redesign is the scope?

“ Instead of subject-by-subject updating one after the other, there will be a simultaneous updating to the core courses. Over the next six years there will be simultaneous updates to language arts, social studies, science, mathematics, and health at all grades.

Another difference is these subjects will have a common design and a common student-centered direction. This will make it easier for teachers to plan cohesive learning activities that span content in several subjects.

Courses in computer coding might be included.”

Would it become a core and or mandatory course?

“We recognize that computer coding is quickly becoming an essential career skill, and want to make sure our students are well prepared. Coding will be seen as a basic literacy for everyone. While students understand how to use new technologies, it is important that they understand the logic behind these technologies as well.

Right now we have no firm details yet on what this might look like. It could be delivered as a separate course or it could be integrated into other courses. It could be mandatory, or it could be optional.”
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How are the teachers, staff, parents and students of the LRSD going to participate in this process?

“Teachers will work collaboratively with consultants and with Alberta Education staff during the process. Parents and student who want to have a say in the new curriculum can participate in an online survey that will be available in this fall. In addition, Alberta Education will be holding a series of meetings across the province where they hope to hear from Albertans face-to-face.”

What would you like to see added to the curriculum?

“We believe that a student’s experiences in school should be well-rounded. With the changes that are coming, we don’t want to insert yet more changes. Instead, we want assurance that student will continue to have opportunities in fine arts, career and technology studies, physical education, and leadership.”
July 6th ~ Vol. 85 No. 27
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