New graduation program will better prepare students for the future

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Beginning in September 2019, British Columbian students entering their final years of secondary school will benefit from a modernized graduation program, as well as an innovative new curriculum.

Students will learn to look at the world in different ways, including Indigenous perspectives. They will be encouraged to take ownership of their learning and personal growth.

“All students deserve to graduate with the necessary skills and competencies to help them continue learning and excel in the jobs of tomorrow,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “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.”

The new graduation program will continue to focus on students developing foundational skills like reading, writing and math, while helping them build a range of other competencies that employers and post-secondary institutions are looking for, such as creative and analytical skills, entrepreneurial skills and leadership.

Students will benefit from a range of new course options in areas such as environmental science, web development, digital media, engineering and robotics. Two new career education courses are being introduced, giving students an opportunity to explore career pathways, and develop the skills needed to manage their career and life transitions.

Students are also required to write three new mandatory graduation assessments, numeracy in Grade 10, and literacy in grades 10 and 12. The results will be reported as stand-alone items on student transcripts. The assessments will maintain the high standards and rigour that the province’s education system is known for, and are aligned with the new curriculum. They will also replace course-based provincial exams and will instead evaluate essential numeracy and literacy abilities developed across many areas of learning and grades, rather than content knowledge from one particular course.

Grades 10-12 students will continue to receive report cards with letter grades and percentages for all courses, and still be required to complete at least 80 credits for graduation.

For the first time, the new K-12 curriculum ensures Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are woven across all grades and areas of learning.

“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 for the benefit of all students,” said Fleming. “We’re committed to improving results for Indigenous students and increasing the presence of Indigenous languages, culture and history throughout all subject matter in B.C. schools.”

Several new Indigenous-focused courses will be offered starting in September 2019, including Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12 and B.C. First Peoples 12. In addition, 17 Indigenous languages have been approved to be taught in B.C. schools and six more are in development. Teachers are being supported to include Indigenous content, both historical and contemporary, into all subject matter.

The changes to the B.C. Graduation Program and K-12 curriculum were made following extensive engagement with students, parents, education partners and stakeholders, post-secondary institutions and representatives of various industries. The ministry is establishing a continuous improvement cycle to keep the provincial curriculum current and will continue to engage on updates to ensure students transition smoothly to trades training, post-secondary studies and, ultimately, the workforce.

Quotes:

Andrea Sinclair, president, B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils —

“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 — college, university, trades or entrepreneurship. The new assessments in the graduation program, combined with the revised curriculum, enable all students to achieve their potential for future success.”

Chris van der Mark, president, B.C. School Superintendents Association —

“We look forward to continue working with the ministry and our partners in education to support the learning transformation that is well underway in B.C. Our education system is so highly regarded by the rest of the world because, in B.C., we collectively put students first and are courageous in our approach to innovative, transformative opportunities to move our system forward.”

Kate Ross, associate vice-president, enrolment services and registrar, University of British Columbia 

“We continue to be impressed by the level of innovation shown in the province’s K-12 education system. We have been working closely with the B.C. Ministry of Education and Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, as we share a strong interest in ensuring all students continue to transition smoothly to post-secondary education. We have revised our admissions policies and processes with the coming changes to the B.C. Graduation Program, and we are looking forward to welcoming students who have completed the new requirements.”

Tom Sigurdson, executive director, BC Building Trades —

“Today’s announcement is another important step in ensuring that British Columbians have the skills to be active participants in B.C.’s economy. We will continue to work with government to expand apprenticeship and employment opportunities for women, Indigenous peoples and all British Columbians.”

Val Litwin, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce —

“B.C. is responding to global shifts that are taking place by ensuring students have the foundational skills needed to take advantage of the jobs of the future. We are pleased the government is addressing the growing skills gaps by equipping students with the practical, real world skills needed to turn their dreams into reality.”

Jill Tipping, president and CEO, BC Tech Association —

“Talent fuels the B.C. economy and equipping the next generation with strong foundational skills through the new K-12 curriculum is essential. We are delighted to see changes that will ensure the skills needed for the jobs of the future are put right at the heart of the new curriculum. We look forward to working with the government to build world-class tech talent ready for a growing and changing labour market and economic landscape.”

Quick Facts:

  • British Columbia is recognized internationally for its world-class education system.
  • B.C. is a leader in curriculum redevelopment and other jurisdictions — including Australia and the Netherlands — are looking to the province as a model for potential change in their own systems.
  • In September 2019, B.C.’s K-12 curriculum redesign implementation will be complete, as students in grades 11 and 12 join the K-10 students already reaping the benefits of the changes. The new K-9 curriculum was implemented in September 2016, followed by Grade 10 in September 2018.
  • The new Grade 10 numeracy assessment was successfully implemented during the 2017-18 school year and is being written again this school year. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, Grade 10 students will write both a numeracy and a literacy assessment, and starting in January 2021, a final literacy assessment for students in Grade 12 will be added.
  • The new Grade 12 literacy assessment will be developed in collaboration with key education partners and stakeholders. As with the Grade 10 numeracy and literacy assessments, the new Grade 12 literacy assessment will be piloted prior to provincewide implementation.

Learn More:

In Traditional Chinese: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/New_BC_Grad_Program_and_Grades_11-12_Curriculum_Traditional_Chinese.pdf

In Punjabi: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR-New_BC_Grad_Program_and_Grades_11-12_Curriculum.pdf

To learn more about the updated B.C. Graduation Program and new curriculum, visit: www.curriculum.gov.bc.ca

The new B.C. Graduation Program Policy Guide, the B.C. Graduation Program Implementation Guide and A Parent’s Guide to the B.C. Graduation Program (Grades 10-12) are all available online: www.gov.bc.ca/education/graduation