BCTF urges parents to pull kids from standardized testing, calls FSAs unnecessary

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The head of the BC Teachers’ Federation is encouraging parents to pull their children from BC’s annual student assessment tests, calling them a waste of time.

Union President Teri Mooring says the tests add stress to students and teachers with no benefit at the end of the day. Grade 4 and 7 students across the province will soon write hours worth the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) tests.

She says especially now, during the pandemic when more kids and teachers are losing class time due to COVID-19, these tests are simply a waste of precious time.

“There is a process you can use in order to withdraw your child if you don’t think it’s good for your child to be doing this. And we just think they create a level of stress among children for no valuable results,” Mooring said.

Related article: Nearly half of Vancouver students opt out of FSA tests

Mooring says they only prove private schools are always at the top of the ranking and realtors that use the results to sell homes near high-ranking schools. She says schools that don’t do well don’t receive additional funding nor are they offered early intervention to help younger students be more successful.

The tests have been in place for 20 years and Mooring says teachers have been against them for the past 15 years.

Since 2013, she says the union’s been pressing for assessments that actually help schools, kids and districts. She’s hoping to finally see some movement from the NDP government.

“I understand that there is a desire to collect data, but that data actually needs to be relevant and needs to be purposeful. It needs to yield results that are intentional — not just any data should do and that’s the problem that we are having with the FSAs,” Mooring said.

Mooring tells us she is appalled that year after year, the test results are used by the Fraser Institute to highlight the success of private schools and wealthy areas and the province does nothing to prevent this. She says it’s especially galling that the NDP — now in power — campaigned against the tests back in 2013.

Related article: Vancouver School Board wants out of FSA debate

It’s time, Mooring says, for the province to finish work started years ago to rewrite the tests, ensuring what is measured is used to make tangible improvements. As in years past, teacher’s associations have sent letters home to parents, requesting that they ask their children be excused from the tests.

In a statement, the Ministry of Education said by holding FSA testing, they “are respecting the needs of our education rightsholders such as the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the Representative for Children and Youth,” saying those groups think the tests are “an important tool to ensure equity and quality education across the province.”

“Paying attention to individual student results allows educators to make decisions that can enhance success in school for children and ensure that no child, regardless of their background, is left behind,” it added.

Participation runs around 50 per cent annually for the Grade 4 and Grade 7 FSAs.

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