October 7, 2008

The Challenge of Secondary Curriculum Reform for Colleges

Beginning in 1994 the Ministry of Education introduced the Quebec Education Program (QEP) to restructure primary and secondary education in response to student needs and to take current technological changes into account. This reform provides innovative opportunities for IT in education, and is currently impacting Cycle 2, Year 2 (grade 10) in Secondary schooling. It will impact the CEGEP system beginning in Fall 2010.

The philosophy of the QEP represents a fundamental shift in the ways in which students learn science and mathematics. It establishes different paths depending on students’ learning preferences. The curriculum focuses on the development of students’ competencies rather than on specific disciplinary knowledge. For example, the competencies in the Cycle 2 Year 2 Science and Technology course are:

  • Seeks answers or solutions to a scientific and technological problem;
  • Makes the most of his/her knowledge of science and technology;
  • Communicates in the languages used in science and technology.

This exploration of a discipline favours IT. Students will integrate the specific disciplinary knowledge within learning situations promoting individual information analysis and evaluation with solutions communicated at their own pace. Evaluation of students’ performance will be in authentic environments focusing on the attainment of QEP competencies. These changes have been developed within the Secondary sector with very little involvement of the colleges.

Document about the Quebec Education Program

QEMSAP Mandate

The Quebec Educational Mathematics and Science Alignment Project (QEMSAP) was funded in January 2006 by the Entente Canada-Québec to establish multi-sectorial, multi institutional Anglophone forums in which participants exchange expertise on the implementation of the QEP. QEMSAP’s objectives are:

  1. To describe the coherence within the different secondary science and mathematics paths and to communicate alignment issues with CEGEP programs.
  2. To communicate the Secondary School QEP to the Anglophone CEGEPs to ensure smooth transition of Secondary School graduates into CEGEP programs.
  3. To facilitate the sharing of resources and information on pedagogy and curricula between Secondary and CEGEP science and mathematics teachers.

Current Challenge

For Quebec educators to promote continuous development in mathematics and science, a common forum is needed in which teachers from primary school through CEGEP can exchange views and share resources to develop coherent science and mathematics education. With this in mind, QEMSAP has given a number of presentations on the QEP to CEGEP faculty, academic advisors, and administrators. We will give a one-day workshop Building a Better Learner in January 2009 for science and mathematics CEGEP faculty on the ways in which secondary school students are being evaluated using QEP.

In addition, QEMSAP is establishing regional teams of teachers from Quebec Anglophone School Boards and CEGEPs to work collaboratively in the preparation of learning and evaluation situations (modules) for the Cycle 2 Year 2 science courses.  These modules will include adjunct learning activities that can be used in introductory CEGEP courses. Currently, the CEGEP partners include Champlain Regional College, Dawson College, Heritage College, John Abbot College, Marianopolis College, and Vanier College.

Linking communities with resources such as wikis and discipline-based forums, IT has an important role to play in building a community of science and mathematics teachers to bridge Secondary and Post-Secondary education and prepare cegeps for the incoming QEP graduates. We invite you to share with us your opinions on the following questions:

  • How do you think the QEP Reforms will impact CEGEP curriculum and influence your pedagogy?
  • What roles do you see IT playing in bridging between the secondary and college levels?
  • How can QEMSAP support your needs?
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