Curriculum

Other Policy and Resource Documents

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the role of the Ministry of Education in curriculum development?

The Ministry of Education administers the system of publicly funded elementary and secondary school education in Ontario, in accordance with and under the authority of the Education Act.

The Minister of Education, through the ministry, issues curricula, sets diploma requirements and sets policy for student assessment.

What are curriculum documents?

Curriculum documents define what children are taught in Ontario public schools. They detail the knowledge and skills that students are expected to develop in each subject at each grade level. By developing and publishing curriculum documents for use by all Ontario teachers, the Ministry of Education sets standards for the entire province.

What is an exemplar?

Subject by subject, exemplars show teachers key features to look for when grading student work. These documents feature samples of actual student work at each of the four levels of achievement, accompanied by teachers' comments explaining why the particular achievement level was assigned. Parents and students may also find these documents helpful.

What are policy and resource documents?

Policy documents set government standards. Resource documents support implementation of policy.

In the case of education, Language, Grades 1-8 is an example of a curriculum policy document. It sets out what the public can expect children to learn in Ontario's elementary Language program.

On the other hand, the publication The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8: English As a Second Language and English Literacy Development – A Resource Guide is a resource that supports the Language policy. It helps teachers ensure that students from other backgrounds meet the curriculum expectations.

How often are curriculum documents revised? What is the review process?

In 2003, the Ministry of Education established a schedule for ongoing curriculum review. Each year, a number of subject areas enter the review process, to ensure they are kept current, relevant and age-appropriate.

Because so much is at stake, reviews are conducted with great care. Comprehensive information-gathering includes:

  • Studying research in the subject area
  • Comparison with other jurisdictions
  • Focus groups comprised of educators from all Ontario school boards
  • Technical content analysis conducted by subject experts
  • Consultations with:
    • Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education
    • Faculties of Education
    • Parents
    • Students
    • Universities, colleges
    • Other ministries.

These sources of information form the basis of recommended revisions to the curriculum. Writing teams drawn from school boards across the province then develop revised English and French documents.

What new curricula are being implemented this year?

The following revised curricula are being implemented in September 2005:

  • Social Studies, Grades 1 to 6
  • Études sociales, 1re à la 6e année
  • Mathematics, Grades 1 to 8
  • Mathématiques, 1re à 8e année
  • History and Geography, Grades 7 and 8
  • Histoire et Géographie, 7e et 8e année
  • Canadian and World Studies, Grades 9 and 10
  • Études canadiennes et mondiales, 9e et 10e année
  • Mathematics, Grades 9 and 10
  • Mathématiques, 9e et 10e année
  • Canadian and World Studies, Grades 11 and 12
  • Études canadiennes et mondiales,11e et 12e année

Mathematics, Grades 11 and 12 and Mathématiques, 11e et 12e année have also been revised and will be implemented in September 2006.