The Minister of Education, Mike Bernier, says after hearing from teachers, principals and trustees in the province, it is clear more time is needed to ensure a smooth transition into the new grade 10 to 12 curriculum.
“This will allow an extra time period now for teachers as they transition and work with the new curriculum to give feedback to the province before full implementation into the 2018-19 school year.”
Both the Prince George District Parent Advisory Council and the Prince George District Teachers’ Association are supportive of the decision. However, President of the Teachers’ Association, Richard Giroday, says he would like to have seen the announcement much sooner. “They have been hinting at this for some time, and we thought this announcement would have come much earlier than it did, that’s the only concern that we have. It will give teachers more time to actually work with the curriculum, to explore it.”
Delaying the curriculum won’t come without hiccups though. “Socials 9, for example, is now all of the old grade 10 socials moved into grade 9,” says Giroday. “So if you delay it for a year…what are you going to do the next year?”
Foundation Skill Assessments in reading, writing and numeracy for grades 4 to 7 will now be written in the first school term instead of the second. Bernier says it will give teachers a snapshot of student learning sooner, so they have more time to address challenges.
Another announcement was made surrounding FSAs. “The Ministry of Education is actually using FSAs in a broader reporting mechanism that will look at all the wide range of educational outcomes,” says Bernier. “As that information is shared; the information parents expect to see for their children, it will be a better reflection of the system.”
Giroday has a problem with releasing data from the FSAs to begin with. He says taking limited information from the exams and using it to rank schools is not an appropriate or accurate way to determine whether a school is good or not.
“The BCTF (British Columbia Teachers’ Federation) has made a decision that it would no longer be involved in the development of the FSA, all our committee members have withdrawn from those. We will no longer be involved in the development of FSA and Provincial exams because of that.”