Curriculum and testing

Currently, Alberta is engaged in a process that will identify what knowledge, skills and attitudes students will need to master to lead successful lives after they leave school. This is a complex process that ultimately will lead to the development of new programs of study setting out requirements in each subject area and grade level. Some of the programs of study are as much as 30 years old, but some elements of the curriculum renewal process have generated controversy and have become politically sensitive.

As curriculum reform moves towards the design of programs of study, practical questions will emerge about sequencing, cross-subject integration, and the definition of specific learning objectives. Teachers possess relevant professional preparation and practical expertise to do this work and, ultimately, will have to implement the programs. It follows that they should play the leading role in this latter part of the process.

While curriculum is being redesigned, we should also ensure that assessment and testing programs match the curriculum and the desired outcomes for education. Assessment is an integral part of teaching and must directly reflect and reinforce student learning. Assessment and evaluation must engage a broad range of learning processes and skills as well as testing content. Standardized testing in particular should be limited and focused on providing information that can inform teaching practice.

What are the views of candidates toward the current curriculum renewal and the role of teachers in it? What are their views on the appropriate roles for government and teachers in student assessment? What is the appropriate role in the system for provincial standardised testing programs?