Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers’ Association (CCTA) president Murray Helmer says it “makes sense” to have the one-year extension to implement the draft curriculum for teachers and students in grades 10-12.
Education Minister Mike Bernier announced the extension won’t be fully implemented until the beginning of the 2018/19 school year, based on more feedback provided by teachers and educators.
Bernier indicates that curriculum in the higher grades is more complex, tied in to provincial exams and evaluated strictly, so “it’s critical teachers have enough time to use the draft 10-12 curriculum and help shape it with their feedback.”
Helmer notes it was also released later than the K-9 curriculum, so teachers have not been aware of its contents nearly as long.
However, teachers have been involved in providing input on the draft curriculum to the ministry of education “right from the outset,” so this has been an ongoing process, he adds.
“Its always been considered a draft because it’s fluid in design and meant to be altered as it’s implemented. If there’s problems in certain areas then there is open revision available … it will be tinkered with and fine-tuned so there are fewer problems as it unfolds across the province.”
The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation had put a callout to all its locals for interested members, and then committee appointments were done from each school district, he adds.
“The CCTA has appointed five of our teachers to a district committee, which also has administrators on it, that guide the whole unfolding of the curriculum process for our school district.”
Helmer says these teachers are “a good mix” from elementary and secondary schools from the South and North ends, and all of them have been involved on the approximately 20-person original working group since the Ministry of Education provided two extra “curriculum days” for teachers.
This new committee is currently working on how the reporting will happen, the expectations and the timeline on how soon it will all be up and running, he explains.
“The evaluation of the curriculum is still under discussion and what that is going to look like – [such as] will there be letter grades, or will there just be another method of reporting student progress. That’s one of the major developments right now.”
Helmer adds some school districts are not currently assigning letter grades, where expected outcomes are “all based around student performance.”
The ministry put out guidelines around reporting in August that said letter grades are not required, but later amended that to allow assigning grades if parents request them, he explains.
“Our school district has not landed exactly on its reporting methods yet. They are under discussion with our curriculum committee at the district level right now.”