Foundation Skills Assessments do more harm than good

Kootenay Columbia Teachers' Union president Andrew Davidoff discusses the pitfalls of Foundations Skills Assessment in BC schools.

This week, teachers of grade 4 and 7 students in School District #20 will be sending letters home with students asking parents to withdraw their children from writing the FSAs.

Why?

The FSAs do not count toward student’s marks nor do the results actively support learning.

They are expensive to develop and administer and take valuable time away from richer and more meaningful learning.

The FSAs take valuable resources away from the classroom and the results are misused to rank schools and promote privatization.

It is interesting to note, that at one site in our district, teachers have been given the option of cleaning out the Equipment Room while administrators take their classes to the computer lab to “practice” the FSA.

How can our Board justify this egregious loss of valuable instructional time?

The new, “conservative” Premier of Alberta threw out FSA testing in her province as one of her first acts, for all the above reasons, and is working with teachers to build a trust relationship when it comes to assessment of students.

It is time for us to stop the Fraser Institute from ridiculing our schools by way of capricious and arbitrary rankings!

Remember that Bountiful was one of the top-ranked schools in the province right up there with the number one ranked private schools. Maybe we should bus all of our students there!

Teachers are not practising the FSAs with students, not administering or supervising the FSAs, and not marking the FSAs.

The LRB-approved Phase 1 job action, excludes teachers from participating in the administration or supervision of FSAs. Administrators will be making all arrangements to conduct and supervise the FSAs without the assistance of teachers.

The BC Principals’ and Vice-Principal’s Association has asked the government to cancel this year’s FSA testing so how important can they be?

All parents should withdraw their children from writing the FSAs and should email Premier Clark (premier@gov.bc.ca) and ask her why she is still inflicting these meaningless tests on BC kids when the Premier of Alberta has just scrapped them!

Andrew Davidoff

President, Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union