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Diploma exams, AATs reinstated in NWT this school year

A sign for Yellowknife Catholic Schools and St Pat's high school
A sign for Yellowknife Catholic Schools and St Pat's high school. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Diploma exams and Alberta Achievement Tests are returning for NWT students after being disrupted over the past two years by Covid-19.

However, the Department of Education, Culture, and Employment is making some accommodations in the testing procedure set out for the diploma exams taken by graduating students and the standardized AATs students write for math and language arts in Grades 3, 6, and 9.

In the 2021-2022 school year, schools will be able to request exemptions for individual students or for classes that were greatly impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

For example, if a student faced big gaps in instructional time and remote learning was not possible, or if schools have to close during an examination period, schools may be be able to secure exemptions for their students to skip the tests.



The weight of the diploma exams on a student’s final mark has also been reduced.

Typically, diploma exams are worth 30 percent of a student’s final mark. This year, they will only be worth 10 percent. The remaining 90 percent will be their school mark.

“Changing the weighting of the exams will help maintain territorial standards, and to collect NWT-wide achievement data, while addressing the learning disruptions that have occurred since March 2020 due to Covid-19,” said the department in a news release.

The department noted similar accommodations are being provided to Alberta students this year.

Diploma exams are necessary to apply for some post-secondary schools. Last year, they were optional for students.

Schools seeking accommodations will be given further instructions by the department, which will review exemption requests on a case-by-case basis.