The British Columbia Teacher's Federation, which has been a long time opponent towards the use of Standardized testing in the schools, has made their annual pitch to parents to make use of their right not to participate in the testing process, stating in an information release that the COVID-19 pandemic is no time for the testing program.
There was nothing normal about the last school year or the one we are currently in. Teachers, students, and families have been forced to constantly adjust to changing rules and conditions. It has been tough on everyone. We shouldn’t be adding to the issues and challenges our students and teachers are facing.
With everything going on, we believe students’ physical, mental, and emotional health should come before data collection. A global pandemic is no time to force young students to take a stressful standardized test on shared computers when very little benefit, if any at all, ever comes from the results. In addition, the FSAs are not a reliable measurement of individual progress. -- BCTF President Teri Mooring in a letter to parents on the Foundation Skills Assessment program
The tests which are given to students in Grades 4 and 7 have been opposed by the BCTF for many years, with the organization expressing concerns over the stress and anxiety that they say is created by the tests, as well as the time it takes away from more meaningful learning in the classroom.
Despite those often relayed themes, the Ministry of Education has shown little to suggest that the days of the standardized tests are coming to an end.
In her statement, BCTF President Teri Mooring notes that School Districts and administrators come under intensified pressure from the Ministry of Education to boost participation rates, often she says against the wishes of parents and caregivers.
Towards the BCTF approach to this years testing regimen, they recommend the following for parents and caregivers.
If your child is learning at school, send in a request to withdraw them from the FSA. You can find a template letter at BCTF.ca/parents.
If your child is learning at home, do not send them to school to write the test and do not feel any pressure that they must do it online.
If you feel pressured to have your child write the test against your wishes, assert your right to withdraw your child for “extenuating circumstances.” There is a global pandemic after all.
The full statement from the BCTF including links to their resource material on the topic can be reviewed here.
One element of the Foundation Skills Assessment that particularly rankles some of the educators is the use of the data by the Fraser Institute for its annual ranking of elementary schools across the province.
The release of which usually delivers an annual note of concern by the BCTF towards he reports.
For more notes on Education in the Northwest see our archive page here.