Multimodal Representation

Ontario Curriculum Documents

How to access Ministry Curriculum Documents

All Ontario curriculum documents can be accessed from the following website link:

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How the Ministry Documents are organized

It is important to mention that there are curriculum documents for each teachable subject. For example, just to name few, you can find a curriculum for Language, Social Studies and History and Geography.

Each curriculum covers the following important aspects:

  • Introduction of the curriculum subject
  • The program of the curriculum subject
  • How to assess and evaluate the students achievement in that specific subject
  • Considerations for teachers on how to plan a program
  • List of expectations and specific expectations in terms of knowledge and skills that students are expected to acquire, demonstrate and apply in each grade for the applicable subject.

Expectation are organized function of specific strands depending on the curriculum subject. To clarify, the following are the strands for the language subject (p. 9-14, Language):

  • Oral communication
  • Reading
  • Writing and
  • Media literacy

For Social studies subject (p. 21), strands are:

  • Heritage and identity
  • People and environments

And for History (p.21) and Geography (p.22) subjects:

  • Story of Canada (Apply concepts of historical thinking and study of the past)
  • World physical and human geography (Apply concepts of geographic thinking and geographic inquiry process)

Key vocabulary terms and what they mean for readers


For each subject, it defines the areas of learning that the curriculum addresses (p.159 Languages)

Overall expectations

Describes in general term the knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of each grade (p.8 Languages)

Instructional Approaches

The approach taken by the teachers to have an effective teaching experience should consider aspects as to consider what students need to learn, to know if the students have learned, to design instruction that promotes learning and finally to make sure that students are making progress (p. 34 Social Studies).

Level of achievement

The provincial curriculum expectations describe student achievements in 4 different levels (p. 31 Languages):

  1. Identifies achievement that falls much below the provincial standard
  2. Identifies achievement that approaches the standard
  3. Identifies a high level of achievement that represents the provincial expectations
  4. Identifies achievement that surpasses the standard

How these documents get made and who makes them

The ministry of education is responsible to develop curriculum policies. School boards and schools are responsible for the implementation of curriculum. To develop the curriculum, the Ministry of Education established a curriculum review cycle to ensure that the curriculum remains current, relevant, and developmentally-appropriate from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

The content of the documents are prepared with the contributions of many individuals, groups and organization. The curriculum is a reflection of the data base that people have gathered about children`s learning and development.

See the link below, under frequently asked questions:

Lesson designs driven by overall expectations, fundamental concepts and specific expectations

As a starting point, teachers when designing there lesson plans must look to the overall expectations that describe what students should achieve by the end of each grade. In addition, the specific expectations give further detail by focusing on each strand. Teacher prompts and sample questions mentioned in curriculum per expectation are useful tips for teachers to help them design lessons that will meet the expectations.

For example, by the end of grade 1, under media literacy, student should be able to identify some of the elements and characteristics of a few simple media forms (e.g., cartoon: colour, music, animation; picture book: cover, printed words, pictures)

Teacher prompt: “How are books different from cartoons? How are they the same?” (p.46 Language).

N.B: For some specific student cases, teachers must consider modified expectations (p. 25 Languages).

How student learning in Ontario is assessed and evaluated

The main purpose of assessing and evaluating is to improve student learning. The process of evaluation is put in place to judge the quality of student work by providing students with descriptive feedback and value the quality of there work by grading it.

The assessment and evaluation are both based on expectations and achievement levels listed in the provincial curriculum for each subject. One main tool used is the achievement charts, see p.20-21 for Languages and p.32-33 for Social Studies and History/Geography. The charts contain “descriptors” and specific “qualifiers” with the descriptors to describe student performance at each of the four levels of achievement to guide teachers in there assessment and evaluation, see the charts for more detail about each levels.

How teachers understanding of student learning is expected to be communicated

There are many ways for teachers to communicate there understanding of student learning. They can rely on the "descriptors" of the evaluation process as good indicators on students performance with respect to a particular criterion. An efficient approach would be to held communications sessions and provide feedback throughout the year. Finally, there are report cards as progress report card and elementary provincial report card as means of communication (p. 29 social and science curriculum).

Learning experiences to be culturally responsive

In all Ontario curriculum, there is always a mention that outlines to implement in classroom activities/lessons driven by expectation (overall or specific) in a way that encourage cultural diversity. In Canada, especially in Quebec and Ontario, students in classrooms are from different cultures and they should all be given equally the opportunity to learn and have a positive educational experience.

Teachers must find positive ways to incorporate this diversity into their instructional programs and into the classroom environment (p. 26 Languages).

To conclude, education must be anti discriminatory towards all students in every school as supported by the Ontario Ministry of Education.