The Ministry of Education and stakeholders throughout the province reviewed graduation requirements to better meet the needs of all learners. The province was divided into six regions (Kootenay, Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver, Northern, Thompson-Okanagan, and Vancouver Island) and each region had an educational leader who organized multiple consultation sessions from September through December 2012. These sessions included a mix of parents, teachers, students, educational administrators, community members, trades, post-secondary and business. Over a dozen partner groups were also invited to provincial planning meetings in August 2012 and January 2013, to help further inform directions. In addition to these in-person sessions, citizens could share their views online through BC’s Education Plan by answering the question “What should our new graduation program look like?”
August 27 2012 to January 15 2013
- The Consultation Sessions held in the Kootenays involved participants from Southeast Kootenay, Rocky Mountain, Kootenay Lake, Arrow Lakes, Kootenay-Columbia, and Boundary;
- Over 250 people from the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Fraser-Cascade, Langley, Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows and Mission) were represented;
- Approximately 1,250 people participated in the Metro Vancouver Region (Surrey, Delta, Richmond, Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, and Sea to Sky)’s dialogue sessions;
- Over 500 people participated in the conversations in the Northern Region (Cariboo-Chilcotin, Quesnel, Central Coast, Queen Charlotte-Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Bulkley Valley, Prince George, Peace River South, Peace River North, Fort Nelson, Coast Mountains, Stikine, Nechako Lakes, and Nisga’a);
- Nearly 300 people from the Thompson-Okanagan region (Revelstoke, Vernon, Kelowna, Okanagan-Similkameen, Nicola-Similkameen, Okanagan-Skaha, Kamloops-Thompson, Gold Trail, and North Okanagan-Shuswap) contributed their opinions and personal insights to this process; and
- Over 435 participants from 13 school districts participated in 5 graduation dialogue forums held in the Vancouver Island Region.
The concept of core competencies such as communication, thinking, and personal & social, was strongly endorsed. It was felt that these competencies not only needed to be taught and developed, but also to be assessed and communicated to students and parents alike. While participants supported shifts and changes to the system, they did not want to lose focus on basic skills and attributes such as literacy, numeracy and citizenship (e.g., knowledge of how government works, citizen rights and responsibilities). The use of real life, authentic projects and problems were seen as necessary focuses to enable this.
There were also many calls for increased flexibility, not only in the type of educational experiences students take part in, but for different methods for engaging and demonstrating learning, and for increased school-community connections, and to extend the learning of students beyond the walls of the classroom as well as bringing community members into schools.
Input leads to action:
The Ministry of Education developed the ‘Proposed Directions for Graduation’ discussion document in 2013 based on feedback received from the regional consultation sessions and other sources. This document was used primarily for developmental conversations inside the ministry and to shape external consultation and dialogue between 2013 and 2016.
The Province’s announcement in May 2016 reflected many of the concepts arising from the 2012/2013 consultation, including:
- Provincial assessments focussed on numeracy and literacy;
- Stronger focus on career education;
- Shifts to curriculum, such as stronger financial literacy education; and
- A capstone project to allow students to reflect upon and demonstrate key learning.
Legislation and policy changes are still needed to implement the directions outlined in the announcement.
To allow schools to adjust to the new curriculum and provincial exams, only modest changes to the graduation credit requirements will be made for now. Further changes to the graduation program are currently being discussed with education partners and post-secondary institutions. To find out more about what these changes will mean to students in Grades 10 – 12, please visit the Changes to Graduation Years site.
Further, the ministries of Education and Advanced Education appointed Jan Unwin as Superintendent for Graduation and Student Transitions to engage school districts and post-secondary institutions in continued dialogue and consultations to ensure a smooth transition for students between the two systems.