Support from northerners like you keeps our journalism alive. Sign up here.



How are your kids today: emerging, proficient or extending?

A frost-over student drop-off and pick-up sign outside a Yellowknife school. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A frosted-over student drop-off and pick-up sign outside a Yellowknife school. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

As the NWT moves from Alberta’s school curriculum to one produced by British Columbia, the territory is gradually introducing BC’s terminology for the results students get.

In a news release on Wednesday, the NWT government said that means percentages and grade letters (like getting an A+) are being phased out in some grades and subjects.

Instead, students will start to bring home report cards that rate their work as emerging, developing, proficient or extending.

BC defines them as follows:

  • Emerging: an “initial understanding” of concepts and competencies relevant to the subject
  • Developing: a “partial understanding”
  • Proficient: a “complete understanding”
  • Extending: a “sophisticated understanding”

For example, by this point in the article, you would probably receive a “developing” assessment for your understanding of the new system.



NWT schools are trialling the newly adapted BC curriculum this year in Grades 4, 5 and 6 and, in some places, Grade 9. Those students are the ones who’ll see the change first, though only in certain subjects

“Rather than focusing on a percentage or letter grade, the scale points to where a student is in their overall learning and what they need to work on,” the territorial government stated.

“Teachers will also provide written feedback on interim report cards that will clearly explain how a student is doing, focusing on their strengths, areas to improve, and strategies to get there.”

Alberta Achievement Tests are being dropped as of this academic year for NWT students in Grade 6 and Grade 9. Instead, they’ll be replaced by BC’s standardized assessments. The last Grade 12s to take Alberta’s diploma exams will be those sitting the tests in June 2026.

Once it’s fully rolled out, the new wording for report cards will only apply to Grades 1-9. High school students will continue to receive percentage grades.