New Foundation Skills Assessment

Provincial AssessmentClassroom Assessment and ReportingNational and International Assessment

The Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) is an annual assessment of students’ reading, writing and numeracy skills. FSA is B.C.’s earliest provincial indicator of student performance and provides strong evidence of future student achievement. The FSA is the first of four times in a student’s K-12 education when they participate in provincial assessments: Grade 4, Grade7, and twice during the graduation years in Grades 10-12.

The purpose of the FSA is to:

  • Provide system level information on student performance
  • Provide districts and schools with information on student performance.
  • Support decision making (interventions, planning, resource allocation, curriculum, policy, research)

The new FSA will be administered in the fall, which means teachers will have student results earlier in the school year. This information will support decision making in the classroom and at the school and will provide districts and the Ministry of Education with important information on how well students are progressing in reading, writing, and numeracy.

FSA is meant to complement the information teachers collect on student performance through ongoing methods of assessment.

Read more FSA administration details.

Quick FSA Facts

  • Assesses reading, writing, and numeracy
  • Administered October 2–November 10, 2017
  • Includes 10-minute group collaboration activity
  • Offers students choice of reading themes
  • Includes engaging online questions
  • Takes approximately 4.5 hours to administer
  • Results returned in the fall
  • Student reports have a new look
  • One-day marking refresher offered in August, 2017
  • Marking remains at the local level

Why the Change in the FSA?

Reading, writing and numeracy are the foundations of the ongoing transformation of curriculum and assessment in British Columbia. B.C.’s assessment system is being redesigned to align with the new curriculum, and that includes the FSA. B.C.’s assessments are regularly reviewed and updated to respond to changes in curriculum.

FSA Development

Over the past two years, Ministry staff and educators from across the province have been working to improve the FSA, which is built on the recommendations of the Advisory Group on Provincial Assessment and the FSA Redesign working group.

In the fall of 2016, the new assessment was field-tested in public and independent schools across the province. Assessment questions from the field test were refined, and feedback from schools that administered the field test was collected and considered. The new FSA is now ready to be administered.

What is the same? What is new?
  • Developed by B.C. educators
  • Assesses reading, writing, and numeracy
  • Is administered in Grades 4 and 7
  • Includes online and written components
  • Takes approximately the same length of time to administer as the prior FSA
  • Is scored locally
  • Is administered in October/November instead of January/February
  • Includes a group collaboration activity
  • Includes a choice of reading themes
  • Uses a variety of engaging question formats
  • Includes student self-reflection
  • Is reported on a proficiency scale

FSA Components

The new FSA has four components. Students are provided with engaging ways to interact with the assessment, reflect on their thinking, and communicate their understanding.  These components mirror classroom practices.

Collaboration Activity

The FSA begins with a short group collaboration activity to engage students, build connections with their knowledge and experience, and have them choose one of the reading themes.


Student Booklet

Connected to the collaboration activity, the written component provides students with a choice of reading themes that interest them. Students read the texts, provide written answers to show their understanding, and complete a writing task. Students also complete numeracy tasks that allow them to show their numeracy skills.

Online Component

The online component of the new FSA includes engaging and interactive questions in reading and numeracy. Students answer questions by clicking and dragging, highlighting, selecting from a drop-down menu, or entering their numerical response. Online items reflect a range of difficulty and complexity.


Self-reflection Component

The fourth component of the new FSA concludes with students reflecting on and analyzing their own experiences in the assessment. This component provides feedback from a student perspective and relates to the Thinking and Communication Core Competencies.


FSA Administration

The FSA will be administered in Grades 4 and 7, from October 2 – November 10, 2017. This means that teachers will have their student results earlier in the school year, providing information on what students know, can do, and understand early in the school year. This information will support decision making related to interventions, planning, resource allocation, curriculum, policy, and research.  A new student report format is being developed to include descriptive, strength-based language. As the assessment is taking place early in the year, the assessment is based on the end-of-year profiles for Grade 3 and Grade 6.

The FSA will take approximately 4.5 hours to complete and can be done over the course of the six-week assessment period.

Read more FSA administration details.

Marking the FSA

The marking method for the new FSA will remain the same. School districts and the Federation of Independent Schools (FISA) will receive funding for marking activities, and marking will be done locally. The Ministry will continue to provide marking supports, such as scoring guides and student exemplars. 

A one-day marking refresh training session will take place in August, 2017. One person per school district and representatives from FISA will be able to participate in the session.

Reporting Results

Student results will be available in two increments:

  • Immediately following the scoring and score entry, raw-score student reports (including the student reflection component), will be available to schools (October/November 2017).
  • Following standard setting, final student summary reports including categorization on proficiency levels will be available.  In the first year of the new FSA, this report will be available after spring 2018.

Supporting Information