Student success is defined as the combination of three components - learning, development, and well-being.

To support student success, public education in Nova Scotia maintains a culture of high expectations for all where each child has the right to learn in an environment that is affirming and appropriate. This right is crucial to an equitable and inclusive learning environment.

Learning is multi-faceted and must be diverse, relevant, authentic and current. Public education in Nova Scotia fosters an interest in learning and engages the students to recognize that learning is a continuous process throughout life.


The following “Principles of Learning” are fundamental to the learning process: 

Students learn when their different ways of knowing and representing knowledge are affirmed and validated and they see themselves as capable and successful.

  • When learners are involved in experiences that are open-ended and offer a variety of assessment strategies, they explore their different ways of constructing meaning and representing knowledge.
  • When learners are involved in experiences that are developmentally appropriate, where there is high expectations, encouragement and support of risk-taking in learning, they can assess their successes and failures and grow from both.

Students learn when they can construct knowledge and make it meaningful in terms of their prior cultural knowledge and experiences.

  • When learners are actively involved in experiences that value and affirm the existing diverse cultural, linguistic, racial and social identities, they can build on their personal experiences to integrate new understandings with existing understandings.

Students learn in a social and collaborative environment where they co-actively construct knowledge.

  • When learners are co-actively involved in meaningful experiences, they are engaged in their personal construction of knowledge.
  • When learners engage in different types of social interactions with peers and adults, they see themselves as part of a community of learners.

Students learn when they can view learning as an integrated whole.

  • When learners make connections across the curriculum and with the world outside requiring a reflection about those connections, they apply strategies to solve problems in real situations.

Students learn when reflection is integral to learning.

  • When learners reflect on experiences, they understand themselves as learners, make connections and continue to build new understandings.