GNWT releases 2021-22 report on state of JK-12 education system

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Yellowknife — September 18, 2023

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has released the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 (JK-12) Education System Performance Measures Technical Report for 2021-22.

This is an annual report on the state of the Northwest Territories (NWT) education system. It provides crucial data to help the GNWT and education bodies address students’ needs, and ensure we’re providing the supports and resources needed for students to thrive.

The 2021-22 report indicates some promising trends in the territory.

  • Since Junior Kindergarten (JK) was introduced territory-wide in the 2017-18 school year, the GNWT is seeing that students who attend JK are consistently more likely to be prepared for Grade 1. The beneficial effects of JK will hopefully continue to show in the coming years as those students get older.
  • The number of educators in the NWT has steadily increased over the last two years, which could be attributed to an increase in third-party funding, such as Jordan’s Principle and the Inuit Child First Initiative.  

Another finding is a higher percentage of students scoring “acceptable” or higher on language and social studies diploma exams than on math and science diploma exams; the results of Alberta Achievement Tests are similar, which could point to a need for an increased focus on math and science in NWT schools. ECE will continue to monitor these results in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and upcoming curriculum changes in NWT schools.

Attendance rates are trending downwards across the NWT, which appears to be a direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The expectation is that, as the JK-12 school system becomes better at reflecting the cultures of the NWT and supports students to flourish as capable and healthy persons, such as through the implementation of the new curriculum, attendance rates are likely to increase.

As we have seen in recent weeks and years, unplanned school closures can also have an impact on students and the education system. The 2021-22 report now includes data on school closures related to the pandemic, so the GNWT and education bodies can monitor the potential impacts and ensure programs and services are meeting students and families’ needs. Beginning with the next Performance Measures report (2022-23), this indicator will reflect all unplanned school closures, including those related to wildfires, flooding, infrastructure issues, etc.

Pulled from data in the technical report, the GNWT has also published four fact sheets on the Graduation and Attendance Rates, and the Early Development Instrument and Middle Years Development Instrument questionnaires.


“These annual reports are crucial to assess how our education system is doing as a whole. This data helps educators, schools, education bodies and the GNWT make decisions related to our programs, services and needs. We continue to see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students academically, developmentally and emotionally, as well as its impacts on the entire education system. This report will support our work to continue improving student outcomes and addressing those gaps, in partnership with education bodies, communities, families and local and Indigenous governments.”

- RJ Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Quick facts

  • The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) annually publishes the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 (JK-12) Education System Performance Measures Technical Report.
  • This document reports on the current state of the Northwest Territories (NWT) education system with respect to the Education Renewal and Innovation (ERI) Framework, which was first implemented in 2013. The ERI Framework is a 10-year initiative aimed at improving the NWT JK-12 education system so it is more relevant to northern students and can better foster their growth into whole and capable people.

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For media requests, please contact:

Briony Grabke

Manager, Public Affairs and Communications

Department of Education, Culture and Employment

Government of the Northwest Territories

867-767-9352  Ext. 71073