The BC Teachers’ Federation has sent an open letter to parents, calling on them to withdraw their children from the Foundation Skills Assessments.
All grades 4 and 7 students in B.C. are required to write the standardized tests. The BCTF has historically been opposed to the tests because they believe it creates anxiety and results in organizations to ‘inappropriately rank schools’.
“There was nothing normal about the last school year or the one we are currently in. Teachers, students, and families have been forced to constantly adjust to changing rules and conditions. It has been tough on everyone. We shouldn’t be adding to the issues and challenges our students and teachers are facing,” the open letter reads.
“With everything going on, we believe students’ physical, mental, and emotional health should come before data collection.”
Teachers are recommending if a child is learning at school, the parent send in a request to withdraw them from the FSA. If a child is learning at home, the BCTF recommends parents do not send them to school to write the test.
“If you feel pressured to have your child write the test against your wishes, assert your right to withdraw your child for ‘extenuating circumstances.’ There is a global pandemic after all,” the letter reads.
“The pandemic is impacting students and families in many different ways. Some families have experienced personal loss while others are experiencing economic hardship. As a consequence, data from this standardized test will be skewed, flawed, and of no use to teachers.”
The B.C. government says by administering the FSA, they are respecting the needs of the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the Representative for Children and Youth who view these assessments as 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,” a statement from the Ministry of Education reads.
“The assessment is usually administered in the fall but we postponed it to February 15 to give districts time to prepare.”