Standardized testing to happen earlier in B.C. schools

NANAIMO – Local teachers' union still opposed to Foundation Skills Assessment tests.

Despite impending changes to the Foundation Skills Assessment, the Nanaimo teachers’ union is still against the yearly testing.

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced that effective the 2017-18 school year, the tests, which examine literacy, writing and math skills for Grade 4 and 7 students, will include “engaging and interactive test questions” and will be administered earlier, in October and November.

The time change is to afford teachers and schools earlier access to results and therefore more time to act on them, said the ministry. Tests are normally administered in January and February.

Mike Ball, Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association president, still doesn’t see the purpose of the assessment. The results are used by right-wing think tank The Fraser Institute to rank schools, something the union is against.

“As we move away from grades, grades are just another way of ranking students and ranking schools is no better,” said Ball.

The ministry said it is currently field testing the new assessments and for the current 2016-17 school year, the existing tests will still be taken at the usual time.

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