As students continue to address pandemic-related learning challenges, diploma exam weighting will be reduced to 20 per cent this school year.
Over the course of the pandemic, the government has responded to feedback from education system partners and made adjustments to the administration of diploma exams as required.
In response to feedback from students, parents and education partners about learning loss and well-being issues as a result of the pandemic, the government is taking a measured approach in transitioning the weighting of diploma exams over time. The weighting will return to 30 per cent in the 2023-24 school year.
Diploma exams are key to maintaining fairness and high standards for all students, no matter where they learn in Alberta. However, the government also recognizes the unprecedented challenges students faced in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.
While Alberta’s government previously announced new literacy and numeracy assessments to support students in grades 1-3 who are struggling, the government also recognizes that senior high students are facing post-pandemic challenges, and the change in diploma exam weighting will benefit those students directly.
This decision also reflects the learnings from the Child and Youth Well-Being Panel Report and the recent findings in an Alberta School Councils Association survey of parents, which both recognized the learning loss students have experienced.
Diploma exams are normally administered in November, January, April, June and August.
In 2015, the government reduced diploma exam weighting from 50 to 30 per cent, giving greater value to course work through the year and each teacher’s ability to assess a broad range of student knowledge and skills.
In spring 2020, diploma exams were cancelled in April and June because students were learning from home for the last few months of the school year. They were successfully administered in August of that year.
During the 2020-21 school year, all diploma exams were optional.
For the 2021-22 school year, the government cancelled January diploma exams, and all remaining diploma exams for the year were weighted at 10 per cent.
Alberta Education works with experienced teachers to develop diploma exams. The government publishes various resources, including previous diploma exam questions and guides, for students. These resources are available on alberta.ca.