NCDSB - Graduate Expectations

Graduate Expectations

Ontario Catholic School Graduate


Institute for Catholic Education

- A discerning believer formed in Catholic Faith Community
- An effective communicator
- A reflective, creative, and holistic thinker
- A self-directed, responsible, lifelong learner
- A collaborative contributor
- A caring family member
- A responsible citizen

The Institute for Catholic Education is dedicated to working with, bringing together, and assisting all those who share responsibility for English Catholic education in their efforts to promote and maintain Catholic schools animated by the Gospel and reflecting the tenets of the Catholic faith.

The Institute was established by the Bishops of Ontario in 1986. Recognizing the collaborative nature of Catholic education, the direction of the Institute for Catholic Education is confided to a Board of Directors with representatives from the associations of Catholic bishops, teachers, trustees, parents and administrators.

Institute for Catholic Education
Suite 604, 10 Saint Mary Street
Toronto, ON
M4Y 1P9
Tel: 416-962-0031
(First printing – 1998)


This image of the learner was developed by the Institute for Catholic Education in consultation with representatives of the Catholic community across Ontario.
The life roles, knowledge, skills and attitudes outlined in this document describe the distinctive expectations that the Catholic community has for graduates of Catholic secondary schools.

These expectations are based on research which identified current and future educational goals and priorities across the province and enhance the expectations of the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training as outlined in provincial curriculum documents.

The starting point for the design of a provincial curriculum framework begins with the learning expectations which define what all students are expected to know, to do and to value when they graduate from secondary school.

The knowledge, skills and values described in this document create a common reference point from which Catholic curriculum writers can develop more comprehensive and specific curriculum in each subject area.

Catholic curriculum and resource materials, at all grade levels, contribute to achieving these expectations for graduating students. Teachers in Catholic schools will use these expectations to make curriculum decisions concerning program planning, instructional strategies, evaluation and assessment.

Catholic schools provide educational programs and services for students with a variety of learning needs and abilities. This framework document recognizes the need for flexibility to accommodate individual student differences.

As growth to full Christian maturity is a lifelong journey, we recognize that the attainment of these expectations will continue beyond graduation from secondary school. Because faith development is also an internal process, some expectations are beyond quantitative measurement.

We know too, that because of our human condition, we cannot expect to achieve all of these guiding principles perfectly; yet we persevere courageously, grounded in our essential humanity and humble dependence on God.

The Christian vision regarding the value of the human person and his/her journey is passed on only through community. Therefore, it is imperative that everyone in the Catholic community shares the responsibility to educate our young people.

The Institute for Catholic Education encourages students, teachers, parents, guardians, school councils, employees, business, labour community groups and individuals to discuss and use this document to guide the education and faith formation of students in Ontario Catholic schools.



Distinctive expectations for graduates of Catholic schools are determined and shaped by the vision and destiny of the human person emerging from our faith tradition. This Christian anthropology or world view, reveals the dignity and value of the person. Our tradition tells us God creatively and lovingly calls each of us into the wonder of life, sustaining us by the power of the Holy Spirit, throughout the human journey, into life eternal. We acknowledge that the journey includes moments of brokenness and sin. We recognize in the person of Jesus, the risen Christ, the human face of God sharing our life in order to heal us of our brokenness and liberate us from sin.

This Christian vision of the human journey is best understood within the context of relationship. It is accomplished in community, in solidarity with brothers and sisters in the Church and beyond.

Catholic education views human life as an integration of body, mind, and spirit. Rooted in this vision, Catholic education fosters the search for knowledge as a lifelong spiritual and academic quest. The expectations of Catholic graduates, therefore, are described not only in terms of knowledge and skills, but in terms of values, attitudes and actions.


1. A discerning believer formed in the Catholic Faith community who celebrates the signs and sacred mystery of God's presence through word, sacrament, prayer, forgiveness, reflection and moral living.
2.An effective communicator who speaks, writes and listens honestly and sensitively, responding critically in light of gospel values.
3. A reflective, creative and holistic thinker who solves problems and makes responsible decisions with an informed moral conscience for the common good.
4. A self-directed, responsible, lifelong learner who develops and demonstrates their God-given potential.
5. A collaborative contributor who finds meaning, dignity and vocation in work which respects the rights of all and contributes to the common good.
6. A caring family member who attends to family, school, parish, and the wider community.
7. A responsible citizen who gives witness to Catholic social teaching by promoting peace, justice and the sacredness of human life.


(a) Illustrates a basic understanding of the saving story of our Christian faith.
(b) Participates in the sacramental life of the church and demonstrates an understanding of the centrality of the Eucharist to our Catholic story.
(c) Actively reflects on God's Word as communicated through the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
(d) Develops attitudes and values founded on Catholic social teaching and acts to promote social responsibility, human solidarity and the common good.
(e) Speaks the language of life…"recognizing that life is an unearned gift and that a person entrusted with life does not own it but that one is called to protect and cherish it." (Witnesses to Faith)
(f) Seeks intimacy with God and celebrates communion with God, others and creation through prayer and worship.
(g) Understands that one's purpose or call in life comes from God and strives to discern and live out this call throughout life's journey.
(h) Respects the faith traditions, world religions and the life-journeys of all people of good will.
(i) Integrates faith with life.
(j) Recognizes that "sin, human weakness, conflict and forgiveness are part of the human journey" and that the cross, the ultimate sign of forgiveness is at the heart of redemption. (Witnesses to Faith)

In a society marked by personality cults, we are called to bear witness to Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, and to reverence Him in the poor, the lowly, and the marginalized. (This Moment of Promise)


(a) Listens actively and critically to understand and learn in light of gospel values.
(b) Reads, understands and uses written materials effectively.
(c) Presents information and ideas clearly and honestly and with sensitivity to others.
(d) Writes and speaks fluently one or both of Canada's official languages.
(e) Uses and integrates the Catholic faith tradition, in the critical analysis of the arts, media, technology and information systems to enhance the quality of life.
In a culture where communication is increasingly commercialized, we are invited to prayer and to worship. (This Moment of Promise)


(a) Recognizes there is more grace in our world than sin and that hope is essential in facing all challenges.
(b) Creates, adapts, evaluates new ideas in light of the common good.
(c) Thinks reflectively and creatively to evaluate situations and solve problems.
(d) Makes decisions in light of gospel values with an informed moral conscience.
(e) Adopts a holistic approach to life by integrating learning from various subject areas and experience.
(f) Examines, evaluates and applies knowledge of interdependent systems (physical, political, ethical, socio-economic and ecological) for the development of a just and compassionate society.

In an age, which seems more fearful of the future, we are directed to give an account of the hope that is within us. (I Peter 3,15)


(a) Demonstrates a confident and positive sense of self and respect for the dignity and welfare of others.
(b) Demonstrates flexibility and adaptability.
(c) Takes initiative and demonstrates Christian leadership.
(d) Responds to, manages and constructively influences change in a discerning manner.
(e) Sets appropriate goals and priorities in school, work and personal life.
(f) Applies effective communication, decision-making, problem-solving, time and resource management skills.
(g) Examines and reflects on one's personal values, abilities and aspirations influencing life's choices and opportunities.
(h) Participates in leisure and fitness activities for a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
In a time, which often seems to be without goals or enabling aspirations, we are challenged to declare ours and to dedicate our lives to their achievement. (This Moment of Promise)


(a) Works effectively as an interdependent team member.
(b) Thinks critically about the meaning and purpose of work.
(c) Develops one's God-given potential and makes a meaningful contribution to society.
(d) Finds meaning, dignity, fulfillment and vocation in work which contributes to the common good.
(e) Respects the rights, responsibilities and contributions of self and others.
(f) Exercises Christian leadership in the achievement of individual and group goals.
(g) Achieves excellence, originality, and integrity in one's own work and supports these qualities in the work of others.
(h) Applies skills for employability, self-employment and entrepreneurship relative to Christian vocation.

In a world, which ignores the human thirst for God, we are called to share the living waters of our faith. (This Moment of Promise)

(a) Relates to family members in a loving, compassionate and respectful manner.
(b) Recognizes human intimacy and sexuality as God given gifts, to be used as the creator intended.
(c) Values and honours the important role of the family in society.
(d) Values and nurtures opportunities for family prayer.
(e) Ministers to the family, school, parish, and wider community through service.
In a time when there is little reverence for the image of God in the human person, we are summoned to care for human life with an ultimate respect. (This Moment of Promise)


(a) Acts morally and legally as a person formed in Catholic traditions.
(b) Accepts accountability for one's own actions.
(c) Seeks and grants forgiveness.
(d) Promotes the sacredness of life.
(e) Witnesses Catholic social teaching by promoting equality, democracy, and solidarity for a just, peaceful and compassionate society.
(f) Respects and affirms the diversity and interdependence of the world's peoples and cultures.
(g) Respects and understands the history, cultural heritage and pluralism of today's contemporary society.
(h) Exercises the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship.
(i) Respects the environment and uses resources wisely.
(j) Contributes to the common good.
In a world marked by poverty, oppression and war, we are commanded to work for justice and peace. (This Moment of Promise)

Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCCB, 1996
Born of the Spirit series, Gr. 1-6, NORE
We Are Strong Together series, Gr. 7-9, NORE
Ontario Catholic Secondary Curriculum Policy Document – Religious Education, ICE

Fully Alive (Gr. 1-8), OCCB
• Created and Loved by God
• Living in Relationship
• Created Sexual: Male and Female
• Growing in Commitment
• Living in the World Turning Points (Gr. 9 & 10) Reaching Out (Gr. 11 & 12) Family Life Education for Secondary Students, OCCB, 1996

Curriculum Matters: A Resource for Catholic Educators, Institute for Catholic Education, 1996.
Writing Curriculum for Catholic Schools: A Framework, Institute for Catholic Education, 1996.
Ontario Catholic Education and the Corporate Sector, Institute for Catholic Education, 1997.
Ontario Catholic Education Ongoing Adult Faith Formation: The Key to Education The Soul – Successful Practices, Institute for Catholic Education, 2000.
Witnesses to Faith, Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association, 1997.

This Moment of Promise, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1989.
For the Good of All, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1991.
Fulfilling the Promise: The Challenge of Leadership, Ontario Conference of Catholic
Celebrating an Education for Justice and Peace, Ontario Conference of Catholic
Bishops, 1996.
Family Life Education for Secondary Students: A Message to the Catholic Education Community, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1996.
Choosing a Government, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1998.
Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, AAS 58
(1966)[Translation in The Documents of Vatican II, Abbot, Walter M., (Ed.), London-
Dublin: Geoffrey Chapman, 1966].
Evangelium Vitae, 1995 (The Gospel of Life) Origins, Apr. 6th, 1995
Familiaris Consortio, John Paul II, AAS 74 (1982) [English translation from Vatican
Polyglot Press, Daughters of St. Paul, 1982].
Charter of Rights of the Family, John Paul II, see Origins 13 (Dec. 15, 1983), pp.461464.
Educational Guidance in Human Love, Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, Origins 13, (Dec. 15, 1983) pp.449-461.
Reflections on Humanae Vitae: Conjugal Morality and Spirituality, John Paul II, Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1984.
Pontifical Council for the Family. "The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality". Origins. Vol. 25, no. 32 (Feb. 1, 1996), pp. 531-552. Intimacy and Sexuality, OCCB, 1994.

Centesimus Annus, 1991, Pope John Paul II.
Evangelli nuntiandi / Evangelization in the Modern World, 1975. Pope Paul VI.
Gaudium et spes / The Church in the Modern World, 1965. Second Vatican Council.
Justice in the World, 1971. Synod of Bishops.
Laborem exercens / On Human Work, 1981. Pope John Paul II.
Mater et Magistra / Christianity and Social Progress, 1961. Pope John XXIII.
Octogesima adveniens / A Call to Action, 1971. Pope Paul VI.
Pacem in terris / Peace on Earth, 1963. Pope John XXIII.
Populorum progressio / The Development of Peoples, 1967. Pope Paul VI.
Quadragesimo anno / Reconstruction of the Social Order, 1931. Pope Pius XI.
Rerum novarum / The Condition of Labour, 1891. Pope Leo XIII.
Sollicitudo rei socialis / On Social Concern, 1987. Pope John Paul II.
Schuck, Michael. That They Be One: The Social Teaching of the Papal Encyclicals,

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