Curriculum documents define what students are taught in Ontario publicly funded 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.
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. The current review cycle will be completed in 2012.
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 stakeholders including:
Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education
Faculties of Education
Other branches of the Ministry of Education
NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations).
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 based on research and consultation.
Further stages of review to finalize the curriculum include:
Feedback consultation on the draft curriculum from educators and stakeholders
Overall fact-check for accuracy and subject integrity
Expert checks to ensure alignment with government policies and frameworks such as environmental education, First Nation, Métis and Inuit Policy Framework and equity and inclusive education strategy
In March 2007, a group of knowledgeable and committed community leaders was brought together to advise the minister of education. They provide high level strategic advice on issues related to elementary and secondary school curriculum. For more information, visit the Curriculum Council website.