Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 19, 2014 - 7:12 am

Nunavut’s school principals review new standardized curriculum

New program "will support consistent and relevant learning experiences for all Nunavut students"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Nunavut's Education minister Paul Quassa and Premier Peter Taptuna, seated, at Aqsarniit Middle School in Iqaluit last March, explaining changes to the Nunavut’s education curriculum for 2014-15 school year. (FILE PHOTO)
Nunavut's Education minister Paul Quassa and Premier Peter Taptuna, seated, at Aqsarniit Middle School in Iqaluit last March, explaining changes to the Nunavut’s education curriculum for 2014-15 school year. (FILE PHOTO)

Nunavut school principals are meeting this week in Iqaluit to get a handle on the territory’s new standardized curriculum and tools for evaluation.

Principals are meeting with consultants from Pearson Education Canada, the firm that developed the territory’s new assessment and literacy program.

The Government of Nunavut announced last spring its first steps in a $1 million upgrade to curriculum and evaluation standards for all schools in the territory — starting with kindergarten to Grade 4 classes in 2014-2015.

The plan focuses on literacy, math and science, and includes a new assessment system to measure student progress.

“We have heard from parents and communities that they want our students to develop the math, science and literacy skills they need to successfully pursue post-secondary studies, or find satisfying and challenging employment,” Paul Quassa, Nunavut’s minister of education, said at an Iqaluit press conference last March.

A new Nunavut-wide assessment system “allows for standardized teacher instruction and helps assess the performance of students,” Quassa said, ensuring the students from across the territory can meet the same standards.

The curriculum changes include adopting:

• the NWT-Alberta math curriculum from kindergarten to Grade 6;

• the Alberta math curriculum for Grades 7, 8 and 9, including the knowledge and employability course options for Grades 10 and 11;

• the NWT-Alberta science curriculum for Grades 7, 8, and 9;

• the Alberta science 14 and science 24 programs to replace the old science 15/25 programs; and,

• the NWT’s kindergarten to Grade 9 English language arts curriculum.

The Nunavut Department of Education put a special emphasis on literacy as an important foundation for the territory’s education system, citing “underdeveloped literacy skills as the number one reason why students fail to graduate from high school.”

So the department will introduce standardized assessments” at every level, as part of a new system that will include guided reading, writing, and word study.

Although the source material is in English, the new system will teach literacy in all of Nunavut’s official languages.

While the upgrades this year focus on kindergarten to Grade 4, curriculum changes between Grade 5 and Grade 8 and between Grade 9 to and Grade 12 will be rolled out in future years.

“It is important that we establish best practices in our education system,” said Nunavut’s Education Minister Paul Quassa in a Sept. 15 release. “Moving forward together using updated, standardized curriculum and resources will support consistent and relevant learning experiences for all Nunavut students.”

Principals are also getting updates on safety guidelines and financial regulations from Kitikmeot, Kivalliq and Qikiqtani regional school operations staff.

The meetings wrap up Sept. 19.

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