GNWT updating assessment tools as part of JK-12 curriculum renewal

Public Service Announcement

Yellowknife — October 11, 2023

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has released plans to update student assessment tools and practices as it works toward implementing the new adapted Northwest Territories (NWT) Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 (JK-12) curriculum.

Assessment tools and practices include report cards, standardized tests, and exams. Educators assess student learning by gathering evidence about what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge.

Students in grades and subjects trialing the new adapted curriculum in 2023-24 – which includes Grades 4, 5, 6 and some Grade 9 (depending on the region/school) – may see a new type of marking on report cards this year.

For many schools, instead of seeing a percentage or grade letter (i.e., 100% or A+) on a student’s report card, in some subjects, students will now receive a level on a proficiency scale: “Emerging,” “Developing,” “Proficient” or “Extending”, with the goal for all students to be “Proficient.”

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. 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.

As of the 2023-24 school year, students in Grades 6 and 9 will no longer be taking Alberta Achievement Tests (AATs). This relates to all students, not just those trialing the new curriculum. The AATs, and eventually the Grade 12 Alberta Diploma Exams, will be replaced by British Columbia’s standardized assessments.

For more detailed information on why the NWT is using the proficiency scale, and changes to standardized testing, refer to the Education, Culture and Employment website and this Education Bulletin for families and students.

Quick Facts

  • This year, the proficiency scale will only be used for students in grades and subjects that are trialing the new curriculum; as such, some students may see two types of grading on their report cards. For example, a Grade 5 student trialing the new Math curriculum, but no other subjects, will be marked on the proficiency scale for Math but receive percentage/letter grades (or other type of grading depending on the school) for all other subjects.
  • Once fully implemented, the proficiency scale will only be used for students in Grades 1-9. High school students will continue to receive percentage grades, as this type of grading is required when applying to post-secondary schools.
  • The GNWT will phase in BC’s assessment tools beginning with the Grade 4 Foundational Skills Assessment and Grade 10 Literacy and Numeracy graduation assessments in 2024-2025. The last session for the Grade 12 Alberta Diploma Exams will be administered in June 2026.
  • Feedback from education partners, educators, families and students will be used to finalize standard report cards and the proficiency scale used in the NWT. Anyone can email with questions, feedback or comments.



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