UPDATE: B.C. school trustees ask province not to release FSA results

UPDATE: B.C. school trustees ask province not to release FSA results

President Gordon Swan says results can be unfair when outside groups use them to rank schools

School trustees are asking the provincial government to not release Foundation Skills Assessment results this year.

BC School Trustees Association president Gordon Swan sent an open letter to Education Minister Rob Fleming earlier this month, saying school boards have been buoyed by the minister’s comments about the “unfairness” of ranking schools and how they “misrepresent” the quality of teaching at a particular school.

“Any public circulation of school results inevitably leads to the public ranking of schools by outside groups,” Swan wrote.

He singled out the Fraser Institute’s annual school report card, which has gathered opposition from trustees and the B.C. Teacher’s Federation in the past.

Speaking by phone on Tuesday morning, Swan said the FSA results were never meant to be released publicly.

“It’s good to give us a picture of how we’re doing as a sector,” he said. “I believe in assessment, but it has to be done appropriately. I know teachers in my own district do assessment on a daily basis.”

The Fraser Institute defended its usage of the test results, noting that hundreds of thousands of parents look at the report card each year.

“If you don’t want to do something harmful to children, kill the data,” said Peter Cowley, director of School Performance Studies at the Fraser Institute.

He challenged the province and the B.C. Teachers Federation to come up with a different set of metrics, if they consider the current metrics to be incomplete.

Glen Hansman, BCTF president, said that attempts had been made by both the union, and the previous B.C. government, but noted that the politicization of the issue made it difficult.

The education ministry noted that it did not endorse the tests’ usage in the Fraser Institute’s rankings, saying that it did not accurately reflect students’ performance.

Swan claims the tests discriminate against lower-income students, whose parents often have no choice as to where they send their kids.

“They may be significantly represented in poorer neighbourhoods and communities and significantly under-represented in independent schools and the higher-price preparatory schools.

“If I was to look at recent Syrian refugees coming in and not knowing English, I wouldn’t expect them to perform well on our FSA tests,” he added. “That doesn’t reflect the quality of the instruction they’re getting.”

Parents who are worried about how their kids are doing in school, or who are moving to a new school, should talk to their child’s teacher rather than relying on the Fraser Institute’s rankings, where private schools often rank the highest year after year.

The education ministry said it is reviewing the trustee association’s concerns.

In a statement, it defended the FSAs, saying that the date of the tests has been moved into the fall to allow teachers and parents a glimpse into students’ performance earlier in the year.

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

 

UPDATE: B.C. school trustees ask province not to release FSA results

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

The Kimberley Nordic Club has outlined their plans for a safe season of winter sport amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Kimberley Nordic Centre.
Kimberley Nordic Club details plans for safe season of winter sport

The Kimberley Nordic Club has released their plan to re-open for the… Continue reading

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP seeking driver of burnt out car found on HaHa Creek Road

Cranbrook RCMP are looking for the driver of a vehicle that was found on fire Monday

Starting in January of 2021, the RDEK will be removing yellow bins designated for glass collections. East Kootenay residents will be able to recycle their glass at one of the many Recycle BC depots across the region. (RDEK file)
Changes coming to RDEK glass recycling program

Starting in January 2021, glass will no longer be collected through the yellow bin program

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read