â€œWe fundamentally disagreeâ€
Interesting that none of the parents who called were in agreement with the teachers—except that one lady who said something I didn’t follow about the issues with ESL kids—other than teachers who were also parents.
As a parent, I’ve never been opposed to the tests. I’d rather my kids try and aim for some kind of standard across the board (the higher the better) since they’ll be competing for university spots against a much wider range of individuals than the kids they went to school with and this is one way of helping the individuals and the schools know how well the teaching process is going.
I don’t like the idea of the rankings because they don’t really show what your kid has learned in the school. They show what he came to school with already. So they’re not really showing the teaching process.
If kids show up at school A in September with a 90% reading grade, then take the FSA and get a 90%, how much teaching has happened? If kids show up at school B in September with a 50% reading grade, then take the FSA and get a 70%, then how much teaching has happened?
Guess which school is ranked much higher on the rankings? The FSAs don’t measure teaching and learning, they measure a kid’s current score on the FSA test. Nothing more.
I also think that “teaching to the test” is exactly what is wrong with the US system of education, where they are so obsessed with these tests that they are the only things that are taught.
Would you be ok with a school that spent a significant amount of time teaching kids how to ace the FSA tests?
As for the university comment – we already have provincial exams. They are given to all students, and they measure learning just fine. That’s what universities look at, not their FSA results.
And now there is a move to require fewer government exams on transcripts by themajor universities in BC. For a while, in the 90’s, registrars looked primarily at gov’t exam marks, and students needed at least 85% for entry to most programmes, 90 plus for others. But as applications fell off, requirements fell off. And the universities also found that the 90% students seemed to be laciking social skills and coping stategies…etc. etc. etc.
One thing we do know about standardized tests: a third of the population will do well, a third will always do poorly, and its hit or miss for the other third.
I don’t like the idea of the rankings because they don’t really show what your kid has learned in the school.[/quote]
This has never been the issue, I don’t think. As as far as I know, both the BCTF and the government has been against the annual ranking produced by the Frasier Institute. However, no one can stop their right to take public information and put it in order–no more than the someone can be told not to number 1 to 10.
The test isn’t to judge how much teaching is being done, nor how efficient that teaching is. It’s a test that assesses a student’s funamental skills. The student who scores 90% would probably get “Excedes Expectations” on the FSA marking scale. The student who got 70% would probably be at “Meets Expectations”.
The school that has the more students exceding expectations would get marked higher, and that’s not fair to the students who work hard but still only meets expectations. However, that’s the same way teachers mark kids for their report cards. Yes, some teachers throw in Participation–but that’s usually very small, and becomes smaller as you progress in school.
As for your argument that the FSA results are a measure of only how well the student did on the FSA, I argue that that can be applied to any single test and student ever has to take.
I also think that “teaching to the test” is exactly what is wrong with the US system of education, where they are so obsessed with these tests that they are the only things that are taught.[/quote]
It’s a test written–based on K-4/7 curriculum–by teachers. Teachers are supposed to be teaching the curriculum, and yea, it can be hard. Still, if the curricu,lum was so harsh that it was impossible to teach it would be changed.
Would you be ok with a school that spent a significant amount of time teaching kids how to ace the FSA tests?[/quote]
As saffron said, kids will eventually take Provs and go on to post-secondary level tests. We have to teach them these skills as early as possible–just like we do with reading, writing, and math.
A significant time, no. A reasonable amount of time to ensure that kids are ready to take the test, definitly. As someone who has taken the FSAs–they’re not much different than any other test I’ve ever taken.
It’s not about what universities look at, it’s about being ready to show the universities whay you’re capable of.
Really, why teach students at all before grade 10? Universities don’t care about it, after all.
Of course, just like my statement is ridiculous, it’s ridiculous–in my opinion, having taken provincials through grades 10 to 12–to ambush students with such significant tests when there’s no second chance.
Unfortunately, that’s now how many people see it.
That’s the reason I replied to Saffron, when she said:
I’m still not sold that the concept of a one test takes all concept is the best indication of a student’s skill set.
I would much rather have a grading based on achievements through the report cards which determine a student’s learning curve through the year, you can combine that with an FSA I guess, if you really are sold on the FSA’s as a reliable barometer.
But, the institutionalized nature of the tests, the need for prep time and the reported troubles of the last batch in the process of delivery, all make me wonder if it really gives a proper assessment of a the students level of achievement.
I’m also not sold on the way that the Fraser Institute uses them in its rankings, there are just far too many different circumstances that can skew the numbers for a consistent and proper ranking of schools province wide.
What mostly frustrates me about these tests is that we are one step away from linking them to funding as per the US model, and that is a catastrophe waiting to happen.