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.

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

Langley senior John Kromhoff doesn’t think he will get many cards on his 100th birthday. His family intends to prove him wrong. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
John Kromhoff doesn’t think he’ll get many 100th birthday cards

Family of Langley senior makes online request in hopes of proving him wrong

In less than two months, there have been two break-ins at the nonprofit Langley Habitat For Humanity ReStore, which is now planning to add bars to its windows and doors (Langley Advance Times file)
Thieves target non-profit Langley City Habitat for Humanity store, again

Bars on doors and windows will be installed following second incident in less than two months

Surrey provincial court. (Black Press Media files)
Attempted Langley carjacking suspect headed back to court

His lawyer represented the suspect at his first hearing Monday

Langley Animal Protection Society will hold their annual gala Oct. 23, 2021. (Special to The Star)
Langley Animal Protection Society sets date for annual gala to help Aldergrove critters

Dreams Do Come True gala is being planned for Saturday, Oct. 23 with COVID-19 restrictions in place

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

The George Massey Tunnel will be closed overnight May 28 and 29 to test the tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals. (Black Press Media file photo)
Overnight Massey Tunnel closures coming May 28, 29

Closure to allow safe testing of tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals

Dr. Euiseok Kim is the medical director of the new Abbotsford post-COVID-19 recovery clinic. (Submitted)
Post-COVID-19 recovery clinic opens in Abbotsford

New facility following model of first clinic which opened in Surrey

Most Read