Chilliwack students will soon be taking the Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA), an annual test required by the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Black Press file photo)

Chilliwack students will soon be taking the Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA), an annual test required by the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Black Press file photo)

Chilliwack Teachers’ Association says Foundational Skills Assessment should be scrapped

The CTA objects to the test in general, but even moreso as students struggle with the pandemic

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation and Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (CTA) want to forever banish the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA).

The test is given annually to Grade 4-7 students, and CTA president Ed Klettke says it “does not help students learn or teachers teach and takes valuable time and resources away from classroom learning.”

“The test undermines teachers’ ability to provide meaningful learning experiences for all students,” he said. “Research shows that other forms of assessment are more useful for broadly evaluating the educational system and its programs.”

Klettke also objects to the test being administered during the pandemic. Students are dealing with an increased workload, playing catch up after missing three months at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

RELATED: Fraser Institute report highlights improvements at Chilliwack and Agassiz schools

“The beginning of the 2020-21 school year has brought additional challenges due to the pandemic, such as high anxiety among students and issues around attendance,” Klettke noted. “Students cannot afford to lose any more meaningful instructional time doing assessments that do not impact their education.

“This test adds additional, unwarranted stress and anxiety to students who are already feeling the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

One parent of a Grade 4 student, who asked not to be named, agreed with Klettke’s take.

“It’s outrageous that they’re doing them this year,” the person said. “It’s a nonsense assessment to start with, but in the midst of a pandemic?”

The Chilliwack School District sent out a letter to parents of Grade 4-7 students, touting the value of the FSA test.

RELATED: Fraser Institute releases latest B.C. high school rankings

“Our district is committed to developing and using many effective instruments and practices that create a profile of each student’s performance,” wrote Rohan Arul-pragasam, Interim Superintendent of Schools. “The FSA provides a small but important snapshot of how well our students are doing in relation to Ministry (of Education) standards.

“When studied together with classroom-based assessments, the FSA helps us make decisions about district and school programs, staffing, resources and professional learning.”

The FSA is usually given in October/November but will hit desks in January/February this year.

The test covers reading, writing and numeracy skills and includes electronic and hand-written sections. Most students require one-and-a-half hours of writing time for each of the six components, and the results don’t count toward a student’s report card marks or promotion.

The Chilliwack School District letter made clear the FSA is not optional, and has been required by the Ministry of Education since 2000.

Klettke noted the results have been “misused” in an annual report by the Fraser Institute that ranks B.C. schools.

”The data does not result in additional funding or support for students, and rankings are published in newspapers,” he said. “The ongoing practice of ranking schools is harmful to students and staff. The best source of information about your child’s progress is their classroom teacher and not the FSA results.

“Teachers use a wide range of assessment tools in their classrooms to support student learning, which allows them to monitor progress and adjust their teaching to meet student needs. The FSAs are not a reliable method of measuring individual progress.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

/ Kevin Mills Photo
Hundreds participate in solidarity parade for transgender student who was bullied

Cars, horses and even planes passed by the Mission waterfront to show support

Kent Search and Rescue sent down three rescuers
UPDATE: Two people involved in ATV rollover 100 feet down ravine in Harrison, at least one injured

Incident happened shortly before 5 p.m. on Harrison East Forest Service Road

An amethyst rock was stolen from Swinstones Granite Shop’s showroom in Chilliwack on Yale Rd. West, and they are hoping it will be spotted and returned. They discovered their window smashed and the purple rock stolen on the morning of Jan. 17, 2020. Here a portion of it is pictured to the right. (Submitted image)
Amethyst stolen from Chilliwack stone shop’s showroom

Window smashed at business where purple rock has been on display for nearly 16 years

Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

Two people on a paddleboard take advantage of a calm Cultus Lake on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Forecast calls for lots of sun in Fraser Valley this coming week

Most of next seven days will be sunny for eastern Fraser Valley, according to Environment Canada

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Most Read