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Changes coming for some N.B. high school students

By Brad Perry Apr 3, 2023 | 6:13 AM

New graduation requirements are on the way for high school students in New Brunswick’s anglophone sector.

The Department of Education is rolling out a series of changes for students entering Grade 10 in September.

They include offering a wider selection of courses for students and adjusting how those courses are counted.

Andrew Culberson, a learning specialist with the department, said they have been looking at changes for a number of years.

“They knew they needed to make changes because the engagement of students in high school programming wasn’t where it should be,” said Culberson.

“This is part of that response to help increase engagement by providing more choice and voice for our students at an earlier point in their high school career.”

The biggest change, according to Culberson, is allowing Grade 10 students to choose which courses they will take.

Up until now, only students in Grades 11 and 12 were given that option, with Grade 10 students having to do prescribed courses.

Each full semester class will now be worth four credit hours instead of a single credit, according to Culberson.

Students will need 100 credit hours between Grades 10 and 12 to graduate, but they will have more options to choose from.

“We’re moving from a system that has been requiring a lot of specific courses to a system that’s really based on clusters and choices,” said Culberson.

Courses will be organized under five clusters: language arts and languages; sciences, humanities; mathematics; and personalized well-being.

The personalized well-being cluster is broken down into creative arts, physical education and wellness, and career connected learning.

“It just provides a really strong, holistic approach to the education choices that students can make that are going to support them for their futures moving forward,” said Culberson.

Students will have to complete a certain number of credit hours in each cluster and there will still be some mandatory classes required for graduation.

With fewer required courses, Culberson said schools will have more flexibility in which classes they might offer and when.

The switch to a credit hour system means students who meet the 100-hour requirement may be able to graduate early — something Culberson said the francophone sector has been doing for a number of years.

“When a student meets the minimum number of requirements and have a plan to move forward, they can do that if everyone agrees as far as the school, the family and the student,” he said.

Students who are entering Grades 11 or 12 in the fall will continue as normal, said Culberson.


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