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NEWS RELEASE · 17th January 2011
Minister of Education
Open Letter to Parents of Grades 4 and 7 Students:
The ability to read, write and solve math problems are vital skills every child needs in life. Developed by B.C. teachers and administered each winter to B.C. students, the Foundation Skills Assessments (FSA) are a set of reading, writing and numeracy tests that give you, as parents, important information about your child.

These tests show where children excel and where they struggle. For example, FSA reading scores are a reliable predictor of whether your child will graduate from school on time. It allows you to work together with your child's teacher to identify problems and take action early on, so that your child will be successful later on in their schooling.

Without strong foundation skills, students entering their high-school years can become disengaged from their education. We want every student to be able to fully pursue their passion in education and become lifelong learners.

The tests also allow your child's teacher to see how students in their classroom compare to others across the province. This important data is used by teachers and principals to identify problems, propose solutions and interventions, and share best practices.

As a parent, you have the right to know how your child is performing. The FSA program, which takes less than 10 hours of your child's time between kindergarten and Grade 8, is an important building block for your child's future success.

Contrary to misinformation, the FSA is not optional - if you have any questions, please contact your child's principal. Also, a pamphlet on FSA is available online at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/bced/

Please ensure your child writes this year's FSA. Checking your child's learning abilities in these early years is just like having regular medical check-ups. The results may be critical to ensuring their success in high school and beyond.

Margaret MacDiarmid
Minister of Education
Government of British Columbia