The Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) – tests of reading, writing and math delivered province-wide every year in Grades 4 and 7 – are currently being conducted.
The B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) has developed an FSA information kit for parents. Click here to see more information from BCCPAC: http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/resources/fsa-information-kit-parents
The B.C. Education Ministry has prepared a brochure advising parents why it thinks the tests are important. In summary, it says the tests help determine whether students are learning vital skills and improving over time, if there are any significant trends in schools, districts or across the province and how certain groups of students (such as aboriginals) are doing. Click here for more Ministry information: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/assessment/fsa/info/welcome.htm
The BCTF does not support the foundation skills assessments, and says: “The provincial government has been administering the Foundation Skills Assessment tests to all students in Grades 4 and 7 since 2000. This test does not help students learn or teachers teach. It takes valuable time and much needed resources away from the classroom learning and undermines the ability to provide meaningful learning experiences for all students.” Click here for more information on the BCTF position on FSAs: https://bctf.ca/parents.aspx
Note: a new assessment method is currently being cooperatively worked on, to replace the FSAs.
Taken from another school district’s letter to parents:
Parents should be aware that School Districts are required by legislation to administer the FSA assessments for grade 4 and 7 students. A Ministerial Order M60/94 states …a teacher, administrative officer or other person designated by the minister or board….must ensure that assessments are administered and completed and that the data collected from assessments will be transmitted to the minister….”
According to the Ministry of Education Guidelines,
“All Grade 4 and 7 students are expected to participate in the Foundation Skills Assessment. The only exceptions are:
- Students who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs) documenting a learning disability directly related to reading, writing or numeracy.
- Students with IEPs who would need adaptations with which they are not familiar, e.g. readers or scribes, or who would need such an extended period of time to complete the FSA as to create a hardship for the individual student.
- Those students who are reported and funded as receiving English as a Second Language (ESL) support who have not yet reached a level of proficiency for them to provide meaningful responses to the reading, writing or numeracy sections of the FSA.
Parents may request that the Principal excuse a student in the event of a family emergency, a lengthy illness or an extenuating circumstance.
Principals determine which student, if any, are excused from one, two or all three components of the FSA.”