The results from the 2009 Foundations Skills Assessment, released the week after schools closed for the summer, show more and more parents are pulling their children from the controversial tests, said BC Teachers’ Federation President Irene Lanzinger.
“Teachers do not believe the Foundation Skills Assessment test, given to Grades 4 and 7 students every February, is an appropriate measure of student learning,” said Lanzinger. “More and more parents are pulling their children out of these controversial tests because they do not see the value the vague results provide. In addition, all of the education partners are opposed to the Fraser Institute using the data to unfairly rank schools.”
This year, an unprecedented number of parents responded to an awareness campaign by BC’s teachers highlighting the negative impact the FSAs and the unfair rankings have on our school communities. In the Comox Valley, more than 20% of students did not write. In Vancouver, that number was over 30%. In Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, more than 40% of Grade 7 students did not write the FSA.
“The data this year is completely unreliable,” said Lanzinger. “It’s time to develop appropriate alternatives that actually support student learning and provide accurate information. The BCTF has called on the government numerous times to implement the FSA on a random-sample basis. That would prevent the unfair and inappropriate rankings and still provide data to track outcomes across the province. Random sampling would also ensure teachers are not pressured to teach to the test at the expense of other learning opportunities.”
At the BC Teachers’ Federation 2009 Annual General Meeting, teachers voted to encourage government to implement a two-year moratorium on all standardized tests. That includes the FSA as well as provincial exams that universities in BC are no longer using for their admission requirements. Teachers at the AGM also voted to call on government to create a Testing and Assessment Task Force to find better models of testing and assessment that enhance student learning.
“Teachers are not opposed to assessment,” said Lanzinger. “In fact, teachers assess their students in a professional and appropriate manner every day. The BCTF believes more appropriate assessment tools can be developed with all of the education partner groups, including government, trustees, principals, and parents.”