Talk to teachers
This letter is in response to John Harding’s editorial on the Foundation Skills Assessment and to provide the following clarification, from the teachers perspective.
Teachers are not afraid of accountability. We are accountable to our students, their parents, and our employer, and as professionals we understand the importance of using a wide variety of assessment tools and strategies. Our concern is that standardized testing takes the focus away from on-going classroom assessment that actually helps students learn.
We are not alone in this belief. The B.C. Coalition of Parent Advisory Councils, and the B.C. Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association have also called for the removal of the Foundation Skills Assessment, because these tests simply do not support student learning.
The issue for teachers is not one of accountability, which Harding stated “may be a terrible generalization,” but ensuring that what we do every day in our classrooms enhances the learning opportunities of each student.
You suggested that teachers and their association “come up with a middle ground solution” in developing another version of a publicly-released assessment model.
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has been asking the Ministry of Education create a different assessment model for years, unsuccessfully.
Along with school board trustees, parents, principals and vice-principals, we want to work together to develop a province-wide assessment that would be administered on a random basis.
This model would prevent individual schools from being unfairly ranked by private institutions, but it would still produce adequate data to assess how our public education system is doing in B.C.
For a detailed assessment of how your child is doing in school, talk to their teacher(s).
For a broader assessment of how the public education system is doing in this province, we can do much better than the Foundation Skills Assessment.
President, Mount Arrowsmith Teachers’ Association