Information on Secondary School Diploma (SSD) & Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies (AESS)

Information on Secondary School Diploma (SSD) & Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies (AESS)

ERRATUM: The Quebec Ministry of Education began issuing AESS to KSB students who completed their Secondary 5 as of June 2015, not 2013 as indicated in the April 24, 2017 communication.

April 24, 2017

Subject: Open letter to Nunavik parents

Over the past few weeks, the Kativik School Board (KSB) has become aware of parents’ questions related to the status of our Secondary 5 graduates. At their March 27-31 meeting, the Council of Commissioners also discussed some of the specific questions that had been asked by parents from their communities.

In light of this discussion, it became evident that the information made available to Nunavik parents has so far been incomplete. Aware of the importance of open and transparent communications, we would therefore like to invite you to read the attached factsheet. This document provides background information about the Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies (AESS). Since June 2015, the Quebec Ministry of Education has been issuing AESS to all KSB students who completed their Secondary 5.

We wish to acknowledge that there has been a lack of clear communication on the part of the school board in relation to the AESS. On behalf of the school board, we would like to extend our sincere apologies for any confusion or worries parents may have experienced as a result of this lack of communication. We assure you that the school board’s top priority is to ensure the success and well-being of all Nunavik students. To this end, we are continuously working hard to develop a Nunavik education system that enables students to reach their full potential.

If you require any clarification on this matter or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Etua Snowball, Director of Education Services, at 1-877-964-1136.

Yours sincerely,

Alicie Nalukturuk, President

Annie Popert, Director General

FACT SHEET

Secondary School Diploma (SSD) & Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies (AESS)

BACKGROUND

In 2000, as part of a broader education reform, the Quebec Ministry of Education introduced new math and science programs in the whole province. At the time, the Kativik School Board (KSB) was given a derogation by the Ministry of Education. The derogation applied to the KSB math and science programs, which made it possible for the school board to continue offering local programs while making the changes required to meet the province-wide reform. The derogation also meant that our Secondary 5 students were issued a Diploma of Secondary Studies by the Ministry of Education.

In 2007, the Ministry of Education indicated to the school board that the derogation would only be renewed for a period of 5 more years. Over these 5 years, the school board was expected to adapt its math and science programs so that it would meet the requirements of the Ministry of Education. 

The school board was unable to meet this deadline for a number of reasons, which include: 1) a high turnover of staff both at the school board as well as at the Ministry of Education; 2) important recruitment challenges directly related to our specific cultural, multilingual and geographical context. As a result, in 2014-2015, the Ministry of Education began issuing Attestations of Secondary Studies to our Secondary 5 students. This is still the case as of the 2016-2017 school year and this arrangement will continue to apply until the KSB math and science programs are accredited by the Ministry of Education.

WHERE DO WE STAND RIGHT NOW?

Currently, and since June 2015, the KSB student who completes their Secondary 5 receives an Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies. With this attestation, Nunavik high school graduates can apply for post-secondary studies.

As attestations are not well-known by colleges and CEGEPS[1], it is highly recommended that graduates get in touch with the Kativik School Board Post-Secondary Student Services if they are interested in pursuing any post-secondary studies.

The Kativik School Board will offer all necessary support to ensure that the Attestation of Secondary Studies provides students with the same opportunities as the Secondary School Diploma.

It is also important to know that the Kativik School Board recently confirmed that it still offers the Secondary School Diploma (SSD) to students who register and pass the year-end standardized tests in Math and Science at the secondary 4 level. All of our school principals were informed about this in writing, on March 13, 2017.

WHAT'S NEXT

The school board’s objective is to offer the DES to students who wish to pursue this path, while also offering attestations and qualifications to students who have other needs or interests.

Currently, the school board’s science program is in the process of being formally evaluated for accreditation by the Ministry of Education. As for math, the mandatory program will be developed so that students will obtain the ministry level math. As of next year, a new elementary math program will be implemented in all of our schools, which will better prepare our students for secondary.

Last fall, the school board also submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education, for the creation of an upper primary and lower secondary Inuit-centred Pathway whereby the school board would mainstream Inuit culture, language and identity into both its first and second language curricula. Discussions around this proposal are ongoing.

Ultimately, what we seek to obtain is the accreditation of the programs and curricula developed under the KSB’s special JBNQA jurisdiction and powers. By accrediting our programs, the Ministry of Education would formally validate them as pathways leading to the DES and other attestations or qualifications.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Can you go to college if you have an Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies (AEES)?

Yes, if you graduated in June 2015 or after and hold an AEES, you can go to college or CEGEP. We recommend that you contact the KSB Post-Secondary Student Services as the Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies is not well known in the province[2]. The school board will be able to provide you with support when you apply for college or CEGEP.

Why did our students stop receiving Secondary School Diplomas?

KSB students have not been receiving Secondary School Diplomas since 2014-2015, because the KSB math and science programs do not meet the Ministry of Education’s requirements.

Discussions are currently ongoing between the school board and the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, the school board’s math and science programs are in the process of being formally assessed for accreditation.

Is it still possible for students to obtain a Secondary School Diploma from KSB?

Yes, the Kativik School Board recently confirmed that it still offers the Secondary School Diploma (SSD) to students who register and pass the   year-end standardized tests in math and science at the Secondary 4 level. All of our school principals were informed about this in writing, on March 13, 2017.

What is the difference between the Attestation and the Diploma?

The Attestation confirms that our students completed courses equivalent to the courses designed by the Quebec Ministry of Education. Currently, the courses from the KSB curriculum that are not equivalent to the courses of the Ministry of Education curriculum are: Secondary 4 Math, Secondary 4 Science.



[1] Post-secondary institutions are not familiar with Attestations because it is not common in the youth sector. The attestation is provided to our students by the Ministry of Education in response to a temporary situation. This arrangement will continue to apply until the KSB math and science programs are accredited by the Ministry of Education.

[2] The Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies issued to Kativik School Board students by the Ministry of Education was provided to the youth sector in response to a temporary situation. Technically, the attestation is an Adult Education attestation. For this reason, post-secondary institutions are not familiar with it in the youth sector.