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Today thousands of Grades 4 and 7 students in British Columbia will begin writing Foundation Skills Assessment tests. Teachers know these tests are not useful and they take valuable time away from teaching and learning.

This year for the first time, all students will be required to complete the multiple-choice portion of the test online. Some school libraries and computer labs will be closed to students for up to two weeks during the writing of these tests.

“The Ministry of Education is completely out of touch with the realities in our schools,” says Irene Lanzinger, president of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation. “Many elementary schools, particularly those in poorer economic regions of the province, will be scrambling to find enough computers for all students. Some students will have to walk or take a bus to a neighbouring school to complete the online portion of the test.”

Parents have been calling the BCTF to ask how they can have their child exempted from the tests. Many report being bullied by the principal or superintendent who are insisting that their child write the test. In some instances, parents are resorting to keeping their children at home for the duration of the tests then find that the administrator has administered the test once the child returns to school.

“Parental requests have been completely ignored,” says Lanzinger. “If parents really want this test as the ministry keeps insisting, why are they forcing students to write?”

The Federation is advising parents whose rights have been denied to exercise their right under Section 11 of the School Act to appeal to their school board.

For a detailed backgrounder on the issues involved with FSA tests, please see: http://www.bctf.ca/fsa.aspx

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For more information, contact Kathleen MacKinnon, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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