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

Winner chosen for first ever Yellow Point Drama Group playwriting contest

Michelle Deines has won $2,000 and her play, The Night Hawks will be produced in fall 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Waterfront Gallery ends 2019 with Christmas themed members show

Over 70 artists are on display for the Christmas exhibiton at Davis Road School

Paul Manly votes against first Liberal confidence vote ‘based on principle’

Manly was the only opposition party member outside the Conservative party to vote against Bill C-2

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read