Assessment tests questioned

  • May. 4, 2006 2:00 p.m.

The Queen Charlotte District Teachers Association is recommending that parents pull their kids from writing a series of provincial tests which begin next week.
The Foundation Skills Assessment tests are given to students across BC in grades 4 and 7 every May, and cover reading, writing and numeracy.
QCDTA president Duncan White said teachers believe the test results are not meaningful when applied to small groups like the classes on the islands, and that there is tremendous pressure on schools to do well on the tests.
This leads to teachers teaching students how to write a test, rather than more important subjects, Mr. White said.
Results from the tests are used by schools and districts to compare how they are doing from year to year.
“It’s the data-driven approach,” Mr. White said. “It sounds good but it really doesn’t work very well for education.”
The QCDTA says parents can have their children exempted from the test by writing to the school principal with that request.
District superintendent Mike Woods said the tests provide important information that allow staff to change instruction and curriculum to improve student performance.
He added that the tests “do not require cramming as students covering the usual learning outcomes will be prepared to write the tests. Moreover, FSAs are not high stakes tests as students do not have to pass and the results are not reported on report cards. We use the results in our school plans and district accountability contract. Individual results are reported to parents.”