Alberta’s New MO on Student Learning

On May 6, 2013, with little or no fanfare, ministerial order #001/2013 (Student Learning) was signed by Alberta Education Minister, Jeff Johnson; bringing into full force all aspects of Inspiring Education and repealing a very dated ministerial order #004/98 (Goals and Standards Applicable to the Provision of Basic Education in Alberta). It was last updated on February 10, 1998.


A ministerial order is a decision made by a minister that does not require the approval of cabinet, or the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The power to issue a MO is typically written into an individual piece of legislation, and the MO itself must make reference to the authorizing legislation. MOs have the force of law. Unlike orders in council, ministerial orders are not automatically made public in Alberta. It is not clear why: given that they have the force of law, it seems they should be.

So how many Albertans know this new ministerial order has come into effect? How many know that the goal of this ministerial order is to ensure that all students achieve an extensive list of outcomes that will enable them to be contributing members of 21st century society? How many know that this order is in stark contrast to what was previously expected of the educated Albertan? This is big and it seems to have slipped in virtually unnoticed.

For awhile now I’ve been urging my teachers to familiarize themselves with documents such as the Framework for Student Learning and this ATA Transformation Document – A Great School For All, both of which align with the new vision for our education system. I’ve even suggested that they would be positioning themselves well going forward by referring to these documents when planning, teaching, learning, and assessing. “You’ll be ahead of the wave”, I’ve told them, “if you start making small changes now.”

I wonder how ministerial order #001/2013 will play out in the weeks and months to come. It looks really good on paper. It’s easy to write it down on paper; a bit more difficult to infuse it into daily practice, especially when curriculum, PATs and DIPs remain the same.

What an exciting time to be involved in education.

Categories: 21st Century Competencies, 21st Century Learning, Education Transformation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Alberta’s New MO on Student Learning

  1. paulgenge916939838

    Great stuff, Greg! Thanks!

    I wasn’t aware of the MO, how it worked and that it came out yesterday. You would think that it would be public and accompanied by some fanfare, especially when we look at the delivery model language of the old one. It is very exciting that our province’s leadership is ahead of the wave and a world leader in recognizing the research to practice gap in education. We should count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to re-align what we do with the real competencies and dispositions we can anticipate Alberta’s students will need to flourish in the future.


  2. Pingback: Alberta's New MO on Student Learning | Leadersh...

  3. Thx for the post Greg. I couldn’t agree more with the anticipated change of direction for our education system and this MO is a statement to everyone that change of practice will be necessary. I agree, I think few know about the MO and fewer have had an opportunity to study it and begin to think about what it it means as we attempt, as a province, to scale it up. I believe many divisions have been setting the stage for the oncoming change particularly with how AISI was used. However, right now most division leaders and school leaders are distracted with their human resource issues, and like we said, are unaware of the MO. When staffing is complete hopefully we can turn our focus towards this document and what it means, beginning with our vision for education.


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