New FSA: Questions and Answers

► Why is FSA important?

FSA serves as an important indicator of student performance in key areas and is BC’s earliest provincial indicator of student performance.

► Why has the format changed?

The assessment has been changed to align with the new curriculum, education transformation directions, and upon advice of the Advisory Group on Provincial Assessment (AGPA).

► Why have we changed when the FSA is administered?

We are moving FSA to earlier in the school year to allow the early use of the information by teachers and schools. The change means teachers and parents will get a snapshot of student performance earlier in the school year and may act upon that information.

► Do schools have to take part in the 2017 January/February FSA if they take part in the fall 2016 field testing?

Yes, while we field test the new FSA, the existing FSA will still be administered in January/February 2017.

► How is the new FSA aligned with the new curriculum?

The new FSA is aligned with the new curriculum by measuring critical thinking and communication skills and looking at deeper learning. The core competencies are embedded in the collaboration and self-reflection components of the new FSA.

► Why are all grade 4 and 7 students expected to write the assessment?

As determined through the Advisory Group on Provincial Assessment, stakeholders require different levels of information for different purposes, such as the performance of subgroups in the population. This can only be attained by having information on the whole population.

► Who developed the assessment?

The new FSA is being developed by 40 B.C. educators nominated by the BCTF, FISA, and FNSA. Several Yukon educators are also participating in the work.

The work has also been informed by the Advisory Group on Provincial Assessment, made up of key education stakeholders and a working group of BCTF, FISA, FNESC, and CSF representatives and measurement experts who helped to operationalize the ideas and provide an overall design for the new assessment.

► How will the FSA information be used?

Students, teachers, and parents will be able to use the new FSA information as a gauge of student performance in these key skills earlier in the school year. The FSA information should complement other information the teacher has collected on student performance.  

The Province reviews and monitors annual student performance and the performance of groups of students. The results are used to maintain confidence in the education system by providing information to the public regarding the performance of BC students in key foundation areas.

Schools and districts may use the FSA information as one indicator of student performance in key areas and as an indicator of where resources may be needed. FSA data also provides trend information on student performance over time and situates school and district performance within the provincial context.  Schools and districts use their results for planning and monitoring trends in student achievement. FSA results can help schools and districts see if they are making improvements from one year to the next.