Quality education

Standardized curriculum

Alberta's provincial government is responsible for the curriculum within Alberta schools. This outlines what students are expected to learn and do in all subjects and grades. It is designed to help students achieve their individual potential and create a positive future for themselves, their families and their communities.

Highly qualified, government certified teachers

All teachers have a minimum four-year university degree, which includes a teacher preparation program. Teachers in Alberta are mentors and motivators - they help students develop the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to succeed.

Modern schools and technology

There are modern schools across rural and urban Alberta. Students and teachers have access to technology to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Students and teachers may use videoconferencing, interactive whiteboards, computers, and various other educational tools.

School calendar and holidays

The school year is traditionally from September to June. In senior high school, the school year is divided into two semesters with exams at the end of each semester.

  • Summer holidays: 2 months (July and August)
  • Winter holidays: 2 weeks at the end of December
  • Spring break: one week either late March or early April
  • High school first semester: September to end of January
  • High school second semester: February to the end of June

Structure of school system

The Alberta Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K to 12) school system includes programs for students ranging from pre-school age to senior high school age. After senior high, students may choose to continue their studies at a post-secondary institution.

Grade and school levels

Grade Age* Division Programming
Kindergarten (K) 5 years old Early Childhood (ECS) ECS prepares children for entry into Grade 1.
1 to 6 6 to 12 years old Elementary Required courses are Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Art and Music, Health and Physical Education. Optional courses vary from school to school.
7 to 9 12 to 15 years old Junior High School Required courses are Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Health and Personal Life Skills. Information and communication technology learner outcomes are infused within core subjects and provincially approved options
10 to 12 15 to 18 years old Senior High School High schools offer many different choices from academic courses for university admission to knowledge and employability courses to develop occupational competencies. Programs vary by authority and school.
*Approximate age

International achievement

Alberta students consistently score well on international tests such as Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

PISA Group Alberta relative to international average Alberta relative to overall Canadian results Countries/Provinces with results significantly higher than Alberta
2006 Science + + 1 (Finland)
Reading + = 2 (Korea and Finland)
Mathematics + = 4 (Chinese Taipei, Finland, Hong Kong - China, Korea)
2009 Reading + = 1 (Shanghai - China)
Mathematics + = 7 (Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong-China, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Quebec and Finland)
Science + + 1 (Shanghai-China)
2012
Mathematics
+ = 10 (Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macao-China, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Quebec)
Reading + = 4 (Shanghai-China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan)
Science + + 3 (Shanghai-China, Hong Kong, Singapore)
2015 Science + + 1 (Singapore)
Reading + + 0
Mathematics + = 7 (Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Chinese Taipei, Japan, *BSJG-China and Quebec)
Note: + Alberta results significantly higher than overall national/international average results
  = Alberta results not significantly different than overall national/international average results
  - Alberta results significantly lower than overall national/international average results
  * BSJG-China represents Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Guangdong

Post secondary education in Alberta

Learn more about post secondary education in Alberta.

Contact

To connect with International Education Services:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-2035
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: studyinalberta.sec@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Main Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard
10044 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 5E6