New graduation program for BC secondary school students
By Roshni Riar, Staff Writer
As of September 2019, BC secondary students nearing graduation will face a new curriculum. The change has been developed by the government of BC to modernize what has previously been taught and emphasized in classrooms.
Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, said in a press release that the implemented changes are an effort to give secondary school students the adequate skills and capabilities to help foster success after graduation.
“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,” said Fleming.
The December 14 press release states that new course offerings will include digital media, robotics, and environmental science. There is a specific focus on teaching Indigenous histories and points of view, resulting in the development of Grade 12 courses such as Contemporary Indigenous Studies and BC First Peoples. Additionally, 17 different Indigenous languages will be available to learn alongside previously-offered language studies courses such as French and Spanish.
On the integration of Indigenous studies into the revamped graduation program, Rob Fleming said, “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 […] We’re committed to improving results for Indigenous students and increasing the presence of Indigenous languages, culture, and history throughout all subject matter in BC schools.”
A major change that students will face is the discontinuation of course-based provincial exams. Provincial exams will be replaced by three mandatory graduation assessments, with numeracy being tested in Grade 10 and literacy testing in both Grades 10 and 12. The results of these assessments will be weighed and graded individually and appear on report cards and transcripts on their own, independent of all other required classes. Students in Grades 10 to 12 will still require 80 credits to graduate.
Once the new graduation program and curriculum are in place in September, it will mark the completion of BC’s K-12 educational revamp and redesign. The overhaul of the curriculum began in September 2016 with K-9, continuing with Grade 10 in September 2018.
The press release stated that students, parents, teachers, institutions, and shareholders were all consulted in the development of the new programs and the changes implemented. The province aims to constantly improve what is being taught to keep education current, relevant, and valuable to the students who are preparing for either post-secondary education, a working environment, or simply life as an adult.
Andrea Sinclair, President of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, said in the press release, “All parents want their children to graduate from school as educated citizens with the skills needed to take the next steps in their adult life. […] The new assessments in the graduation program, combined with the revised curriculum, enable all students to achieve their potential for future success.”