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

New version of outdoor art show set to take place in Comox in August

Despite the announcement earlier this year of the cancellation of the Originals… Continue reading

Tales from MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Robert Moyes Special to The Record Doug Cox, artistic director and executive… Continue reading

Comox Valley artist named Living Legend for wildfowl carvings

An artist from the Comox Valley has been named a Living Legend… Continue reading

New sport introduced in Comox Valley schools earns a bullseye in student approval

Valley students were introduced to the sport of archery for the first… Continue reading

New regulations increase boating distance from killer whales

As of June 1, boats must stay 400 metres away from the southern resident orcas

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Most Read