Mission scores low in FSA testing

Individual tests provide more information for educators than bulk tests: school district 75 board chair

Mission students are achieving below provincial average standards when it comes to reading, writing and numeracy skills, according to the latest results from the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), released on Monday.

FSA tests were administered to students in Grade 4 and Grade 7 each year to evaluate skills and plan for improvement. This year, 84 per cent of students participated in the assessment in February.

In the Grade 4 category, 70 per cent of B.C. students met or exceeded the expectations in reading, compared to just 64 per cent from Mission. The provincial average is 72 per cent for writing and 68 per cent for numeracy. Mission tested low in both categories at 69 per cent for writing and 58 per cent for numeracy.

The gap widens more when it came to the Grade 7 results. Provincially, 64 per cent of students met or exceeded expectations in reading, 71 per cent in writing and 60 per cent in numeracy.

In Mission, only 53 per cent of Grade 7s met the test standards in reading, 50 per cent in writing and 44 per cent in numeracy.

When broken down by genders, girls performed better than boys in Mission in all categories.

Mission historically comes in low, however, students continue to graduate and earn scholarships, said Mission board of education chair Edie Heinrichs about the FSA test results.

“We don’t make a big deal about (FSA) tests,” she added. “FSA is what the government uses and the stats are worth as much as bulk stats can be.”

Bulk knowledge doesn’t provide good information and one test a year for the entire school district is not accurate testing, Heinrichs noted.

Mission students are assessed all the time, she pointed out, adding individual tests are much more informative for teachers, students and parents.

“About every teacher in Grades 1-3 can tell you how an individual student is doing … and help is available to students who need is.”

School district officials pay attention to the FSA tests, but there is more focus on individual tests throughout the year.