Dear Parents and Guardians of Students in Grades 4 and 7,
I am writing to provide you with some information and context about the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) that will be conducted in Grade 4 and 7 classrooms across British Columbia between September 30th and November 8th, 2019. I hope that this information is helpful to you as your child prepares to participate in the FSA.
The FSA is an annual provincial assessment of students’ reading, writing and numeracy skills. There are four provincial assessments in which students participate during their schooling in British Columbia. The FSA in grades 4 and 7 are the first two of these assessments. Students will also complete Numeracy and Literacy graduation assessments during their secondary schooling years (in grades 10 and 12).
The Ministry of Education expects that all students in grades 4 and 7 will participate in this assessment, including students who require accommodations, students who receive learning assistance and students who are English Language Learners. Accommodations are made available to those individual students who require it based on their learning profile. The FSA was developed by a team of experienced educators from around the province including several teachers, and is aligned with the Ministry of Education’s Framework for Enhancing Student Learning.
The results of the FSA are helpful to the Ministry, districts and schools in that they provide system level and individual information on student performance. Additionally, overall assessment results provide a snapshot of how well students in our province are doing in foundational areas, as well as high level information about student achievement over time and trends in student performance. Individual student results are available to each student’s parents, teachers and principal. Individual student results are not released or available publicly.
It is the school principal’s role to identify students who may be excused from participating in some or all components of the FSA. The following are examples of student profiles that are excused by the principal based on Ministry of Education criteria: Students whose personalized learning standards differ significantly from provincial curricular standards (e.g. students with limited awareness of their surroundings or students with moderate to profound intellectual abilities) are usually excused. English Language Learners who have been assessed at Levels 1 or 2 are also sometimes excused by the principal. Additionally, students experiencing an extenuating circumstance such as a lengthy illness or a family emergency may also be considered to be excused by the principal. Your school administrator will be in contact with you if they are considering excusing your child from the FSA.
Some basic information for parents provided by the Ministry of Education is also attached with this letter, along with an information sheet from our district. Further information about the provincial assessments in grades 4,7,10 and 12 can be found on the Ministry website https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/provincial-assessment.
If you have any questions about these materials, how FSA will be conducted in your school or the implications for your child, please contact your school Principal or Vice-Principal.