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New Foundation Skills Assessment

 

The Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) is an annual assessment of students’ reading, writing, and numeracy skills at Grades 4 and 7.

The purpose of FSA is to:

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

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

What's New

Over the last year, Ministry staff and teachers from across the province have been working to improve the FSA. 

  • FSA will still be administered in Grades 4 and 7, but will now be done earlier in the school year (October/November instead of January/February.).
  • The new FSA will include engaging and interactive test questions.
  • The FSA will include student collaboration, student choice of topics, and student self-reflection.
  • Student results will be reported on proficiency levels, and will include more descriptive student level reporting.

FSA Components

The new FSA has four components giving students multiple ways to reflect on their thinking and communicate their understanding.

Collaboration Activity

The new FSA begins with a collaboration activity (a new component of the FSA), which serves to activate the student's personal knowledge, build connections and provide choice as to which theme they would like to explore during the Student Booklet component of the FSA. Students prepare for the assessment by collaborating with others in teams or pairs. They will think about and discuss what makes a successful reader, writer and mathematician, setting the stage for students to be motivated and to engage in the activities that follow. In this relaxed environment, student anxiety is reduced and a success/growth mindset is established.

Student Booklet

Connecting to the collaboration, this portion of the assessment contains a number of theme-based in-depth constructed response questions/problem solving tasks for students to demonstrate deep learning in reading, writing and numeracy. Students are provided with choice of themes (a new component of the FSA), depending on their interests. Once they make the choice, students complete theme related tasks in reading, writing and numeracy.

 

Online Component

The new design employs engaging and interactive question formats to assess knowledge and understanding in reading and numeracy. New question types include drag-and-drop, drop down menu selection, entering number/symbols and sequencing.

Student Reflection

After completing the FSA, students will reflect on and analyze their own experiences in the process and in the context of the tasks presented in the assessment. The core competencies of "thinking" and "communicating" provides the focus for student reflection and self-assessment - a new component of the FSA. This reflection offers an insightful lens into the student's thinking and communicating.

 

What's Next: Field-Testing of the New FSA

The new assessment will be field-tested in the fall of 2016 and full implementation will take place in the fall of 2017.

All schools that have students enrolled in Grade 4 or Grade 7 are invited to participate in the online component of the new FSA field tests. The field tests will provide an opportunity for students and teachers to see what parts of the new FSA will look like with reading (English and French) and numeracy units available.

These units consist of several reading passages and questions or a set of numeracy questions, and will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

For more information, please consult the New FSA: Questions and Answers