Results from the Foundation Skills Assessment tests conducted in February show the Central Okanagan School District is above the provincial average at the Grade 4 level and below at the Grade 7 level.
The controversial standardized tests are only conducted in Grades 4 and 7 and then used as a benchmark by the province for measuring student achievement.
This year, Education Minister George Abbott said more students have written the test than last year and the results show an improvement over the 2009-10 school year.
“FSA results not only help us identify areas that need improvement, they also allow us to see what’s working so we can share best practices,” said Abbott in a statement released on Thursday.
“Districts like Fort Nelson and Cariboo-Chicotin, for instance, have implemented specific programs that have led to marked improvement in FSA scores over the past few years.”
The B.C. Federation of Teachers has consistently opposed the tests saying they do little to measure real learning and place undue constraints on teachers to meet testing targets rather than improve learning outcomes.
But superintendent Hugh Gloster said the school district itself takes the testing seriously and views the results as important information which can be combined with other forms of testing to measure a student’s overall achievement.
Gloster explained the Grade 4 students saw a much higher participation rate this year than the Grade 7 students—which he believes is skewing the results.
“At the Grade 7 level we had close to 20 per cent not sit sitting the assessment,” he said. “So of course that’s going to have an affect.”
At the Grade 4 level, roughly 90 per cent of students participated. The FSA is infamously used by the Fraser Institute to create its annual school report card, which stacks all public and private schools up against one another, creating a listing of school achievement for the province.
The results are broken down into reading, writing and numeracy and further by male, female, aboriginal, English as a Second Language and special needs.