Wednesday, September 12, 2018

BCTF launches fall push to end participation in FSA testing in schools

With students now back in class and settling into their school routines, the union which represents public school teachers across the province would like a few words with parents and guardians.

That as the BCTF looks to build some momentum towards bringing attention to how the results of the Foundation Skills Assessment are used and to ask that students be excused from participation in the program in British Columbia.

The BCTF has long been in disagreement with the administration of the tests and more importantly how the results are used by groups and organizations to draw what they suggest is an improper snapshot of education in the province.

In particular it is the use of the FSA results as the background to the Fraser Institutes annual school report that seems to raise the most ire of the BCTF leadership.

Those findings, published each year, rank the province's elementary and secondary schools, with the majority of the data compiled from the FSA results.

The Fraser Institute reports last year listed the findings for four of the elementary schools in the School District 52's system.

As well the organization also reviewed the findings for high schools across the province which found Charles Hays Secondary listed at the 131st spot in the secondary school review..

To bring its message home to parents and guardians, the BCTF has once again released a two page information review of their views of the FSA program and how the focus on a short term goal such as the FSA takes away from developing a real understanding of the subject area or skill.

As the information notes outline, one strategy to reduce the reliance on the FSA results for comparison of schools is to ask that parent's withdraw their children from participation in the Grade 4 and Grade 7 FSA tests, observing this can be done according to Ministry of Education guidelines  concerning exemptions.

The teacher's federation included this withdrawal letter application for parents and guardians to access.

The BCTF also notes that teachers will continue to work with parents and others in education to find assessments that are educationally sound and work for everyone.

In the introduction to the fall push, the BCTF also included letters of support for the position from the provincial school trustees association and Deans of Education at UBC and Simon Fraser University.

BCTF launched their campaign through social media on Tuesday, with a number of messages for parents and guardians.

You can follow the debate on the FSA issue and other education concerns from the #BCTF twitter feed.

For more information related to education notes around the Northwest see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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