Requiring students to write the Foundation Skills Assessment testing continues to be a hot point of debate within the public school education community. (Contributed)

Central Okanagan teachers push to cancel FSA testing

School board defers request to committee for further discussion

Central Okanagan school trustees have received a request from the Central Okanagan Teachers Association (COTA) to cancel the controversial Foundation Skills Assessment testing for the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COTA has also asked the school board to support parents who choose to withdraw their child from the FSA testing for extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19.

The request generated discussion among the trustees, raising some contentious feelings about why the tests still continue despite an NDP promise prior to the last provincial election to eliminate them, and how the Fraser Institute misuses the test data results to rank public schools against each other and private schools on student education performance.

This year, because of the disruption caused by COVID, the FSA testing, normally done in the fall, has been delayed until February.

Moyra Baxter, chair of the Central Okanagan Board of Education, said her ongoing frustration has not been the test itself, given to Grade 4 and 7 students, but the publicizing of the data.

“It has never been the intent of these tests to rank schools, but that is what the Fraser Institute does every year and that information then get publicized by the media,” Baxter said.

Susan Bauhart, president of COTA, said that publicity can have a negative impact on staff and students, which she has seen first-hand in her teaching experience.

READ MORE: BCTF, school boards give mixed messaging on FSA testing

READS MORE: Student exemption from FSA testing up to parents

Vivian Evans, vice-president of the Central Okanagan Parents Advisory Council (COPAC), told the trustees she asked her son not be part of the testing because of the stress it placed on him, the feeling he was competing with other students.

Kevin Kaardal, superintendent/CEO of Central Okanagan Public Schools, said the FSA testing is mandated by the ministry of education, meaning all school districts have to comply and report the testing result findings to the ministry.

Kaardal said the tests can provide valuable research data, when combined with all the other factors that go into assessing the learning performance issues of students in every school, but he was also is critical of how the data is used by the Fraser Institute.

But trustees also acknowledged that parents do look at the FSA findings posted by the Fraser Institute in helping them determine what school they want to enrol their kids in.

The school board opted to defer the two COTA requests to the education and student services committee Nov. 18 meeting to further discuss the issue and make a recommendation to the board on how to proceed.

Just Posted

COVID-19 virus. (Black Press Media file)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Kelowna retirement home

The outbreak at Sandalwood Retirement Resort was initially announced by Interior Health on April 23

City of West Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan - West K News)
City of West Kelowna approves funding application for outreach program

The program would support the community’s most vulnerable and those experiencing homelessness

The wildfire season in the Okanagan Valley region has been approached with greater apprehension and concern from area residents since the historic Okanagan Mountain Park fire in 2003. That fire burned 25,600 hectares, forced evacuations in Kelowna and Naramata impacting more than 33,000 people, destroyed 238 homes, and claimed 12 wooden trestles and damaged two other steel trestles in Myra Canyon. (File photo)
Ominous wildfire outlook if June rains don’t return to Okanagan

Dry spring is fueling potential for busy wildfire season in July and August

Joe Rich residents want logging operations in the area to stop for now until they get more clarity on slope stability and risks to the Mission Creek watershed. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Joe Rich logging poses watershed risk: residents

Area residents want the logging to stop in the area for the time being

Kelowna Law Courts. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Former Vernon teacher found guilty of historic sex crimes against minors

Anoop Singh Klair was found guilty of all eight charges against him in a Kelowna courtroom on Friday

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Doctor Jessica Luksts is being recognized on BC Family Doctor Day for her part in the early days of the pandemic. (Submitted)
Celebrate BC Family Doctor Day on May 19

The South Okanagan Similkameen has over 80 family doctors serving the community

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Tim Miller is selling his 76-foot steel bridge from his property in Burton, B.C. The bridge originates from the railway in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
For sale: a 100-ton 19th century bridge from Revelstoke

Bridge is now in Burton, B.C. and advertised for $40,000

Most Read