Modified curriculum – background information

What is the provincial curriculum?

The British Columbia provincial curriculum defines for teachers what students are expected to know and be able to do in their grade and area of learning. It provides the learning standards for students in BC schools.

Why is BC’s curriculum changing?

  • In today’s technology-enabled world, students have instant access to a limitless amount of information. For all students, the great value of education is in learning the skills to successfully locate, analyze, and apply the information they need in their work and personal lives after they graduate.
  • Experts from BC and around the world advise that curriculum should put more emphasis on concepts, competencies, and processes.
  • The existing curriculum can restrict student learning because it has so many objectives to cover. The highly prescriptive nature of the existing curriculum puts it at odds with the vision of a more personalized learning experience set out in BC’s Education Plan.

How is curriculum changing?

Drawing on extensive research and ongoing consultations with educators across the province, the Ministry of Education is redesigning curriculum to fit with the modern education system that is needed for today’s world. The curriculum redesign aims to:

  • reduce the prescriptiveness of the existing curriculum while ensuring a consistent focus on the essential elements of learning
  • allow teachers and students the flexibility to personalize the learning experience to better match each student’s individual strengths and needs
  • balance the foundational skills that students need to learn with the “big ideas” or concepts that they need to understand to succeed in their education and their lives

Curriculum is being designed to support development of critical thinking, communication skills, and personal and social competence.


What will be the same?

  • There will continue to be rigorous learning standards in each area of learning.
  • There will continue to be an emphasis in all grades on the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy. Subjects such as Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies will remain at the heart of every student’s education. But with the redesigned curriculum, students will be able to develop a deeper understanding of those subjects and their fundamental concepts.
  • Curriculum is now and will continue to be designed for the majority of students; classroom teachers will continue to adapt or modify standards for selected students as appropriate.


What will be different?

  • All areas of learning are being redesigned at the same time using a common framework.
  • The structure of the redesigned curriculum is more flexible to enable teachers to develop cross-curricular learning experiences for students and take advantage of current topics of interest to students.
  • In the redesigned curriculum framework, core competencies — such as critical thinking, communication, and social responsibility — are made explicit.
  • Each area of learning features Big Ideas that are important for students to understand.
  • The curriculum is balanced: it emphasizes core foundational skills while focusing on higher-level conceptual understandings.
  • Standards remain rigorous; however, the new learning standards are more open in nature, making them less rigid, less detailed, and less focused on minor facts.
  • Aboriginal perspectives and content have been authentically integrated into every subject.

What are the implementation timelines?

  • K–9 curriculum is available for voluntary use by teachers in the 2015/16 school year. It will become the official curriculum in the 2016/17 school year.
  • Grade 10–12 curriculum will be available for voluntary use in the 2016/17 school year. It will become the official curriculum in the 2017/18 school year.

Can I get details on each subject and grade’s curriculum?

Yes – visit here:

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