Liberal leadership candidates want changes to literacy test

Two B.C. Liberal leadership candidates have called for changes to province-wide testing for elementary school children.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidate George Abbott says there is nothing 'magical' about the current FSA test.

Two B.C. Liberal leadership candidates have called for changes to province-wide testing for elementary school children, after the head of the B.C. Principals’ and Vice Principals’ Association joined the B.C. Teachers’ Federation in rejecting the current test program.

Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) tests are currently being administered across the province to grade four and seven students, to measure reading, writing and number skills. The BCTF has fought against the tests for years, with teachers refusing to mark them and lobbying parents to exclude their children.

Shuswap MLA George Abbott, who was briefly education minister before running to succeed Premier Gordon Campbell, said skills assessment tests are important. He suggested the testing regime could be modified to make it work better.

“There is not an appropriate alternative to it at this point, but I do think that there is much merit in exploring how we could either supplement or improve FSA testing, to ensure that parents get the best possible understanding of how well their children are progressing,” Abbott said in interview.

He stopped short of calling for the FSA tests to be scrapped and replaced with new tests, as leadership rival and former advanced education minister Moira Stilwell suggested last week.

“It seems clear to me that FSA is no longer the appropriate test,” Stilwell said.

Jameel Aziz, president of the B.C. Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, issued a statement last week that said the FSA has too much “political baggage.”

Aziz said the problem is not flaws in the tests, but the time spent by administrators responding to questions from parents who get conflicting messages from the ministry and teachers. This results in students either not taking the tests, or not trying as hard as they should.

Aziz also objected to the use of FSA test results by the Fraser Institute to rank schools, which he called a “misuse” of the data.

Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid sent a letter to parents when the test period began, advising them the tests are mandatory. MacDiarmid likened the tests to routine medical checkups for children.

Just Posted

Editor’s view: A Hopeful start to the community’s first 10 km run

Good mix of pomp and circumstance, variable terrain and silliness at Sunday’s run

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

VIDEO: Olympic medalist teaches swimming in Hope

Brent Hayden fondly remembers local swim meet from his youth

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Canucks find scoring touch in 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Four Vancouver skaters have two points apiece in victory over Chicago

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Most Read