Reflections on Education Ministry Meetings in Alberta, Canada – Positive Insights across North America and Lessons for the USAFebruary 21, 2014 by Susan Patrick
In the New Year, I was able to travel to Edmonton – the capital of Alberta, Canada – to visit schools and meet with educators, education leaders and public officials as part of a delegation from the United States.
Focus on Values of Equity and Inclusion
Canada has the smallest achievement gap (the achievement gap between sub-groups of students) of OECD countries. All of the high performing countries on PISA have a very strong sense of shared values, and this was very evident across the meetings and school visits in Edmonton. Alberta’s values are clearly articulated here in a visionary document titled Inspiring Education and repeated at the school and classroom-level by educators from across many fields of study and levels of teaching and administration during site visits.
Alberta school leaders described a changing competency framework and the digital revolution. They described curriculum redesign and moving from very structured curriculum toward achievement of competencies. They discussed the need to:
- Change how you want young people to learn
- Change how you measure and benchmark successful outcomes
- Understand the process for the journey takes a while (over years and requires a growth mindset and continuous improvement framework with flexibility)
Accountability in Alberta —16 Pillars of Accountability
Albert School Superintendents and administrators, like Paulette Hanna, explained that they wished to have accountability that would provide them with useful information on continuous improvement for building capacity at the classroom level and school level. Thus, the information would allow them to support educators and students in improving instructional models at the classroom level throughout the year – focused on student learning, quality and engagement.
The public official noted that if the measures were the correct ones for student learning, then the data would be very helpful for policy makers and accountability purposes, too. (more…)