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March 5, 2015
For immediate release

New graduation requirements will better prepare students for future success

Education and Early Childhood Development

Government has updated high school graduation requirements to help ensure graduates are better prepared to transition to post-secondary education and the labour force, says Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Alan McIsaac.

“We have heard from Islanders that we need to make sure our students are graduating with the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy,” said Minister McIsaac. “Enhancing high school graduation requirements will better support our students to graduate with the right blend of skill and creativity.”

The new graduation requirements fall under four categories:

• Secondary Literacy Assessment;

• Career education and personal development;

• Physical education; and

• Creativity and innovation.

All students across the province will be required to successfully complete a new literacy assessment in order to graduate. This assessment is currently under development and will be rolled out Island-wide in 2016. This standardized measure of reading and writing will ensure our graduates have the necessary literacy skills to transition to the workforce.

In the English Language School Board, there will be new required credits in physical education, career education, and Canadian social studies. The required physical education course aligns with the province’s recently released Wellness Strategy and will help students increase their physical activity, along with learning about healthy eating, conflict resolution and community service.

Through the career education course, students will weigh their passions and interests with labour market information, academic requirements and their experiences to begin planning for their transition beyond high school. Students will also be required to complete a course that fosters creativity and innovation or a French language course.

In the French Language School Board, there are no changes to course requirements, however these students will also be required to successfully complete the new literacy assessment to graduate.

“It’s great to see that the Career Exploration and Opportunities course is becoming a requirement for graduation,” says Colonel Gray Principal Kevin Whitrow. “It’s important that students have the opportunity to consider their options and create a plan for their future career.”

Students entering Grade 10 this fall will be the first cohort of students who must meet the new graduation requirements. There will be no change for students who are currently in high school.

For more information on the new Senior High School Graduation Requirements, please refer to Minister's Directive No. MD 2015-01.

BACKGROUND

New graduation requirements

These graduation requirements replace the current requirements that were laid out in 2011-2012.

High school graduation requirements in the French Language School Board remain unchanged, except for the addition of the Secondary Literacy Assessment.

The new compulsory credits for the English Language School Board are as follows:

• 3 English credits, one of which must be ENG621A or ENG631A

• 2 math credits (post-secondary institutions may require 3 or more math credits)

• 2 science credits

• 2 social studies credits, one of which must focus on Canadian social studies

• 1 physical education credit (PED401A)

• 1 career education and personal development credit (CEO401A or CAR421F)

• 1 credit from a designated list that fosters creativity or innovation OR one credit from a list of French language courses

• Successful creation of the Secondary Literacy Assessment

Physical education (PED401A)

The required physical education course will help students increase their physical activity, along with learning about wellness, healthy eating, conflict resolution and community service The purpose of Physical Education 10 is to develop confident and competent students who understand, appreciate, engage, and sustain a balanced, healthy, and active lifestyle.

Career education and personal development

Students will be required to take a course in career education and personal development.

Career Exploration and Opportunities (CEO) is a grade 10 course which enables students to develop the skills they need to become self-directed individuals who set goals, make thoughtful decisions, and take responsibility for pursuing their goals throughout life. French immersion students may choose to take CAR421F which contains similar subject matter.

These courses have a financial literacy component and are designed to help students learn the skills they need to pursue their goals throughout life.

Students explore a wide range of post-secondary education and career options, think critically about issues and decisions and develop financial literacy skills. Students weigh their passions and interests with labour market information, academic requirements and their experiences to begin planning for their transition beyond high school.

Those who teach this subject matter are receiving additional training in career development, through the Student Graduation and Transition Planner Project.

Creativity and Innovation Courses

Students will also be required to choose from a list of courses that foster creativity or innovation (or a French language course). Creativity is a prime source of innovation, which is the main driver of economic growth and prosperity. Fostering creativity in youth help develop well-rounded learners who can express ideas, thoughts, and knowledge in new and innovative ways.

Courses on this list are designed to:

• develop higher level thinkers and doers

• develop problem-solving, critical and creative thinking

• inspire imagination, exploration synthesis and construction of new knowledge

• encourage appropriate collaboration and self-direction

• prepare students for a complex, rapidly evolving world

• develop student’s ability to apply and transfer knowledge, skills and thinking processes ( PISA- develops spatial understanding)

• encourage learners to make unexpected connections

• generate new and dynamic ideas, techniques and products

These courses include:

• Carpentry 801A, 801B, 801C, 801D, 801E

• Computer Studies 521A, 621A

• Creative Multimedia 801A

• Creative Writing 521A

• Culinary 801A, 801B

• Design Technology 701A

• Dramatic Arts 701A, 801A, 621A

• Environmental Science 621A

• Global Issues 621A, 631A

• Independent Study 521A, 621A

• Music 421A, 421B, 521A, 521B, 621A, 621B, 801A

• Robotics 801A

• Visual Arts 401A, 501A, 601A, 621A

• Welding 801A, 801B, 801C, 801D, 801E

Secondary Literacy Assessment (SLA)

Students will also be required to complete a literacy assessment in order to graduate. This assessment is currently under development, and it is expected to be an online basic literacy cross-curricular assessment of reading and writing.

The Secondary Literacy Assessment (SLA) will be a high school graduation requirement. All students will be required to write this standardized measure of reading and writing. Gathering specific data in literacy will inform policy decisions and increase focus for professional learning.

The Secondary Literacy Assessment is being developed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). A pilot assessment is being carried out during this academic year. The first system-wide administration of the SLA with grade 10 students will occur in 2016.

Teacher representatives were involved in an advisory group for curriculum outcome linking and verification, assessment administration, and participation in marking components of the assessment.

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Media Contact: Katie MacDonald
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