Alberta Education Critical Thinking

The Programs of Study for Social Studies, which identify what students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level, are available on the Alberta Education website.  

Dimensions of Thinking are an important element of the design of the Social Studies Program.  These dimensions consist of:

  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Historical thinking
  • Geographic thinking
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • Metacognition

Assessment in Alberta Social Studies - This discussion paper explores practices of fair assessment within the context of critical thinking and the Alberta Social Studies Program of Studies.

Transforming Pedagogy and Practice Through Inquiry-Based Curricula: A Study of High School Social Studies - An article combining information about the intent of the Alberta Social Studies curriculum with a research study which investigated to what extent this transformative curriculum has affected teaching practice.


Competencies are combinations of knowledge, skills and attitudes that students develop and apply for successful learning, living and working. They emphasize aspects of learning that apply within and across all subject areas. Alberta’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum promotes development of the following competencies, which are streamlined expressions of the competencies in the Ministerial Order on Student Learning (#001/2013):

Students are the artists, scientists, thinkers, innovators and leaders of the future. They will be tasked with solving the problems of today, while imagining and creating a new tomorrow. Competencies are critical for equipping students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that they will need to successfully navigate their personal journeys in learning, living and working.

Students use and develop competencies when they encounter unfamiliar or challenging situations. Competencies help students draw and build upon what they know, how they think and what they can do. In school, students develop and apply competencies through subject-area content and learning experiences.

Alberta Education Competencies Overview


The following resources are designed to explore practical strategies to support student development of Alberta’s competencies across the curriculum and in every classroom.

Overviews and Learning Guides

Learning Through Competencies Learning Guide

Shark Lake Development Project – Michael Strembitsky School Video


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