How to Excuse Your Child from the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA)

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Test Anxiety Quiz.I found this great resource here. There are also ...Well, it’s that time again: Foundation Skills Assessment in BC.

There are so many things wrong with the FSA tests. I won’t go into them here, but you can read about many of them in these places:

  1. Foundation Skills Assessment: Another Dirty Trick
  2. The BCTF on the FSAs.

And so you know, the BC Ministry of Education has an information FAQ for parents and a brochure. Neither tells parents that/how they can exempt their students from this silly test. No surprise. While the government “says” it doesn’t support the use of test results for school ranking, the BC Liberal Party is a huge fan of privatizing public services, so they’re quite content to let it happen.

And if they wanted to help parents understand that the Fraser Institute school rankings are an inappropriate use of the FSA test results, they are doing an crushingly poor job of that. Which fits their ideology.

But based on this years instructions for administrators, you still can simply exempt your kids without having to go to court or anything draconian. “Principals may excuse a student in the event of a family emergency, a lengthy illness or other extenuating circumstances.” That means that you need to inform your student’s principal of the fact that there are extenuating circumstances. Do it in a letter. And frankly, it’s none of anyone’s business what your extenuating circumstances are.

And if you would like a handy letter, here’s one, from the Vancouver School Board’s website. Just copy it into a Word document, print it, fill it out and bring it to school.

Or you could use one prepared for you by the BCTF, in Chinese, English, French and Punjabi.

Happy non-testing!

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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