2020-21 diploma exams
The June 2021 and August 2021 diploma exams are optional due to COVID-19.
Students who complete a diploma exam course and have a school-awarded mark are eligible for an exemption. It doesn’t matter if they are registered for the diploma exam or not. If they choose not to write the diploma exam, they will be granted the exemption.
For further information see: Learning during COVID-19.
2021-22 school year
- Diploma exams will be mandatory in the 2021-22 school year
- Diploma exams will be offered in every diploma course subject in November, January, April, June and August.
Students Writing Mathematics 30-1 and Mathematics 30-2 (PDF, 386 KB)
The following students may take an Alberta Grade 12 diploma exam:
- students who have completed instruction in a diploma exam course
- students who want to improve a diploma exam course mark
- mature students
- non-funded visiting students
Students must have photo ID when they write diploma exams.
Diploma exams are available for the following courses:
- Biology 30
- Chemistry 30
- English Language Arts 30–1
- English Language Arts 30–2
- Français 30–1
- French Language Arts 30–1
- Mathematics 30–1
- Mathematics 30–2
- Physics 30
- Science 30
- Social Studies 30–1
- Social Studies 30–2
French language exams
All diploma exams, except English Language Arts 30–1 and English Language Arts 30–2, are translated into French.
Science 30 is offered in French only in June and August.
If you are in a Francophone or alternate French Language Arts program, you may choose to write a diploma exam in English or in French, regardless of your language of instruction.
If you studied a course in French, your teacher may assume that you will write the diploma exam in French.
You must notify your principal at least 90 days before the diploma exam date if you decide to write a diploma exam in English.
There are some differences between exam requirements for French 30, French Language Arts 30–1, and Français 30–1.
- French 30 is a second-language course for non-Francophone students. There is no diploma exam for French 30
- French Language Arts 30–1 is an advanced French course designed for students in an alternate French Language Arts program. If you are enrolled in French Language Arts 30–1, you must write the French Language Arts 30–1 diploma exam to get a final diploma course mark
- Français 30–1 is a French language and literature course for students in Francophone programs. If you are enrolled in Français 30–1, you must write the Français 30–1 diploma exam in order to get a final diploma course mark
Student results are available on myPass approximately 3 weeks after writing diploma exams.
The Results Statement, which lists your most recent school and diploma exam marks, is not an official transcript. An Alberta Official High School Transcript of Student Achievement is available for a fee. Learn more about high school transcripts.
If you repeat a course or rewrite a diploma exam, your transcript will show the highest school-awarded and diploma exam marks earned. You must request and pay for a new transcript if you upgrade your marks.
To ensure protection of privacy, course marks and exam marks cannot be read to students over the phone. Telephone requests and payments are not accepted.
Marking and weighting
Diploma exams are marked by teachers at a central location. Personal identification, including the name of your school, is removed from each exam booklet before it is marked.
The machine-scorable answer sheets are marked by scanning machines. Written assignments are marked independently by 2 or more teacher markers. These markers must meet specific qualifications in order to mark diploma exams.
As of September 1, 2015, diploma exams are weighted at 30% of a student’s final mark. Prior to this date, diploma exams made up 50% of the final mark.
Fairness to students
Alberta’s diploma exams assess many of the outcomes set out in the provincial programs of study, but they don’t assess them all. The current 70/30 weighing puts more emphasis on course work and school-awarded marks. It better reflects the broad range of work students put in over the entire course.
Calculating official final marks
70% of the final mark comes from course work. The remaining 30% comes from the diploma exam. To pass a diploma exam course, you must earn a final combined mark of at least 50%. For example, if you get a mark of 68% from your school and 60% on the diploma exam, your official final mark is 66%.
If you’re a mature student, as defined in the Guide to Education, you’re not required to have a school-awarded mark. If you pass the diploma exam and have no school-awarded mark, you’ll automatically receive credit for the course. If you have a school-awarded mark and it’s lower than your diploma exam mark, your final mark will be the diploma exam mark only. If your school-awarded mark is higher than your diploma exam mark, the two marks will be weighted 70/30.
Rigour of diploma exams
The diploma exam program is committed to maintaining high standards, no matter what weighting system is used. The quality of the exams remains high, as do expectations for student learning.
Diploma marks and school-awarded marks
School-awarded marks and diploma examination marks complement each other.
We designed diploma exams to assess student achievement on the objectives of the curriculum. Diploma exams have some key benefits. Most importantly, they are consistent, giving an assessment standard that stays the same over time and across the province.
However, some learning outcomes cannot be measured well by these timed tests. Teachers work closely with students on a daily basis, and use many different kinds of assessments, which can assess a broader range of students’ knowledge and skills.
The scope of what the diploma exams and teachers measure are not the same. However, the two sets of marks should be reasonably close, since both are assessing the same program of studies. As well, teachers help set the standards of achievement for diploma exams, so that we can make sure the province’s expectations are similar to those of most teachers.
To assist students, teachers, and parents in understanding what the provincial standards for each diploma exam look like in the classroom, Alberta Education has published documents for each subject called Information Bulletins on the Writing Diploma Exams page.
To connect with Deanna Shostak, Director, Diploma Programs:
To connect with Pascal Couture, Director, Exam Administration:
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