This article explains how the 70%/30% split in classroom/diploma grades affects your mark and how being a mature student (>19 years of age or having a high school diploma) can circumvent this issue.
Before following any of the information in this article, check the links (this article was written August 2015) and see if they mirror this post and SPEAK WITH A GUIDANCE COUNSELOR. This way you are 100 % sure your plan is valid.

Alberta Diploma Examination Info-2Alberta Diploma Exams are a series of Grade 12 examinations covering each of broad disciplines: Physics 30, Chemistry 30, Math 30, Biology 30, Social Studies 30, Language Arts 30 along with all of the associated 30-1, 30-2 and French equivalents. When you are a high school student, it stands for 30 % of your grade. 70 % is your class mark. Although the diploma is important, the class mark now has a higher weight. The regular school year is two semesters September to January and February to June with Diplomas in January and June for the respective semesters. You can rewrite a diploma exam as many times as you would like and only your highest mark is kept. There are additional opportunities to write the diploma throughout the year. At non-peak/non-standard writing times such as April, August and November, core subject diplomas in Math, Physics, Chemistry and ELA 30 are available but some others are not.

Actual diploma exam dates are

January 13-28
April 6-14
June 13-28
August 3-11
November 2-9

Why would a student want to re-write a diploma? Well, you can retake the diploma at any of those given times and it will replace an earlier lower mark. Keep in mind it still gets blended IF you are a high-school student and Unless your diploma grade is seriously bad there’s little reason for you to want to do a rewrite – here’s why:

In-Class Mark Diploma Grade Blended Final Grade
65 50 60.5
65 60 63.5
65 70 66.5
65 80 69.5
65 90 72.5
65 100 75.5

If you had a 65 % in your course and diploma, in order to raise your grade 10 % you would need to get 100 % on your diploma! This is a RAW DEAL. That’s a 35 % difference in understanding and skill coupled with a ton of luck for ONLY a 10 % gain!

*Fun fact – an Alberta student can rewrite the diploma as many times as they would like to be accepted into post secondary school. In South Korea, where student test scores on average exceed that of Canadians by a large margin, you can ONLY write most exams ONCE IN YOUR LIFE. And that grade defines your future career opportunities and earnings. The stakes there are much higher – as are the rates of suicide and depression.

“Regular Students: For regular students in diploma exam courses, the school mark* (SM) and the exam mark** (EM), after September 1, 2015, are combined on a 70/30 basis to obtain the final mark.”
On the other hand, here is what happens with “mature students”:

In-Class Mark Diploma Grade Final Grade
Original Grade 65 65 65
Scenario 1 65 60 65*
Scenario 2 65 70 70
Scenario 3 65 80 80
Scenario 4 65 90 90
Scenario 5 65 100 100

*The highlighted cell shows that if you rewrite a diploma and get a worse mark, it is not counted.
“Students with Mature Student Status: For mature students, the highest school mark is used in the 70/30 blending process only if it is higher than the diploma exam mark. If the highest school mark is lower than or equal to the diploma exam mark, the school mark is disregarded and the diploma exam mark becomes the final mark. In both cases, all three marks will appear on the Results Statement.”

The above is adapted from Marks, Results and Appeals PDF. With the new 70/30 weighing it makes MUCH less sense to rewrite a diploma until you become a mature student – it just doesn’t give you a good benefit for the time you’d need to put in reviewing the material. So – what do you do? Well essentially, it makes sense to become a mature student:

“A mature student, for Alberta High School Diploma purposes, is one who, as of September 1 of the current school year, is:

19 years of age or older; OR has an Alberta high school diploma; or an equivalent (i.e. GED see above). A mature student may earn senior high school credits after successfully completing:

courses offered in a regular accredited school or through extension programs
courses offered by the Alberta Distance Learning Centre
a diploma examination conducted by Alberta Education with or without formal course instruction.
A mature student is eligible to enroll in any course at the senior high school level or to write a diploma examination without completing the prerequisite courses. Many school authorities offer programs for mature students in both credit and non-credit areas. Interested mature students should consult their local school jurisdiction for details.”

Generally, unless you really didn’t take advantage of or listen in class the first time around, it is a bad idea to re-take the whole class. This is true whether it is Chemistry or Physics. For courses that require more memorization (such as Biology) or tons of practice (like Mathematics) this advice may not be as applicable. The entire Chemistry 30 course is roughly 4 chapters of a University level textbook and therefore about only 100 pages of material. It is really stretched out over a four month period. Preparing hard and steady for a month and writing a diploma to replace your entire grade is a better use of your time than re-taking the course and writing tons of assignments that focus on concepts that may not even be tested on the diploma. Taking a two (summer semester) to four (regular semester) month class that doesn’t necessarily prepare you well for the diploma is especially frustrating if your goal is a non-science based degree that just requires a higher average or GPA to enter into post-secondary school.

So instead, quickly become a mature student, study for 1-2 months and get two diplomas over 85 and your University admissions problems (if you had any) are solved.

The information in this article can be interpreted as an argument for retaking the class component but you have to ask yourself – How much is your time worth?

Before following any of the information in this article, check the links (this article was written August 2015) and see if they mirror this post and SPEAK WITH A GUIDANCE COUNSELOR. This way you are 100 % sure your plan is valid.

The cost of a rewrite is ~ 26 $ and to register for a diploma examination rewrite online you must have:

your Alberta Student Number,
an Alberta Education Login ID (you will be given the opportunity to register for a Login ID),
completed high school credit courses or GED equivalency courses in Alberta,
provided a daytime phone number where Alberta Education can contact you,
a valid address on file with Alberta Education,
a valid credit card (VISA or MasterCard).”


General Information Bulletin
Diploma Exam Rewrites
Diploma Exam Information

*As a side note, while writing this article, I couldn’t find my old Alberta Diploma. I found my Masters’, my Bachelor’s and a scan of a card from one of my students:
Alberta Diploma Examination InfoAnd this piece of paper made me happiest of all. Don’t let your life be defined by a series of numbers – they don’t make you happy. After everything is said and done and you get your diploma, you may feel the same way. It’s just an an exam and a test and you will succeed and move on.


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