Two-thirds of students in grades 4 and 7 are meeting or exceeding expectations in the foundational skills of reading, writing and numeracy. Of the remaining students, nearly 20 per cent are not meeting expectations and the performance of approximately 20 per cent is unknown, according to the 2010 provincial Foundation Skills Assessment released today.
"Students who do not meet expectations in reading on their Grade 4 FSA only have a 69 per cent chance of graduating, whereas students who meet or exceed expectations have a 90 per cent chance of completing school within the expected timeline," said Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. "We know that early assessments can lead us to identify students who are struggling and design interventions to help them succeed."
All students are expected to participate in FSA. However, overall participation and achievement levels are down across the province. Grades 4 and 7 reading and numeracy performances have decreased one to two percent over last year and only 81 per cent of B.C. students in grades 4 and 7 participated this year, compared with 82 per cent in 2009 and 88 per cent in 2008.
At the same time, a number of districts have set positive examples and have used FSA results to make significant program changes:
* The Fort Nelson school district has implemented a literacy program for their youngest students.
* Kamloops-Thompson educates parents and teachers about using FSA as a measurement tool and their students' participation rate was 94 per cent. All students, including Aboriginal students, perform higher than the provincial averages.
* Cariboo-Chilcotin has developed early learning programs and English as a second dialect support for Aboriginal students, and they have seen Grade 4 reading performances increase by 10 per cent since 2008 and writing performances by 21 per cent.
"Student achievement has reached a plateau - we absolutely must find new and innovative approaches to student learning," said MacDiarmid. "We must look to the districts that are using their FSA results to intervene early and focus on personalized learning for each student."
Since 2001, the Province has invested nearly $1.4 billion in literacy and literacy-related initiatives, such as StrongStart BC early learning programs, almost $18 million to operate the kindergarten readiness program Ready, Set, Learn and $2.7 million for LEAP BC program that encourage literacy, physical activity and healthy eating in preschool-aged children.
The Province has also committed $280 million over three years to implement full day kindergarten so that children benefit from early learning. Full day kindergarten will be available for up to 50 per cent of kindergarten students in 2010 and for every five-year-old starting school in 2011.
FSA 2010 results are available on the Ministry of Education website at www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reporting