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Although I believe that the Foundational Skills Assessment should not be credited with validity, it is interesting to see how School District 52 has reacted to the most recent results.

In Friday’s (Jan 3, 2014) Northern Connector, Board Chair, Tina Last commented on the 2012/2013 results recently released.

“The board of education is excited with the improvements our students have made.”

Certainly, something to be excited about…even though measuring student progress was not the purported original intent of the assessment.

But take a look at a selection of the results from a slightly different perspective than presented in the news report. The stated purpose of the FSAs is to measure system success. So is the local system being successful?

Grade 4 Reading: (Reported: 71 percent of students are meeting or exceeding expectations with 63 percent of aboriginal students meeting or exceeding expectations).
Which means:

  • 29 per cent of students are not meeting or exceeding expectations.
  • 37 per cent of aboriginal students are not meeting or exceeding expectations.

Grade 7 Reading: (Reported: 48 percent of the students are meeting or achieving expectations).

Which means:

  • 52 per cent of students are not meeting or exceeding expectations in reading.

Overall, improvements across the test results do not appear to be stellar and the weaknesses continue to be concerning.

Sometimes being excited about positive results tends to obscure the full picture…especially if the Board is choosing to validate the FSA results by selectively focusing only on a narrow band of ‘improvements’.

If predictions of an upcoming surge in economic development and consequent up swing in the number of jobs available is accurate…who will benefit from the jobs if local reading and math skills are not being strongly developed?