There may be some value in the changes taking place in schools, but the changes to assessment and testing doesn’t bode well.
Instead of acknowledging where kids are at, new provincial tests will hide how students are doing.
The new scale for the provincial Foundation Skill Assessment (FSA) tests now say that students are either “emerging,” “on track,” or “extending.”
Why the elusive, vague words?
Before the revamp, FSAs reported that students were either “meeting expectations,” “not meeting,” or “exceeding” expectations.
At least with that, parents and students knew what the results meant.
People sometimes feel that tests such as FSAs are harmful, taking a snapshot of students at one point in time and then labeling them for how successful they will be.
It’s a valid concern; however, the problem is not with testing. Testing is valuable to help students acknowledge where they’re at and where they need to go.
The problem comes when a child, or anyone for that matter, starts believing that their identity is based on their achievement. In reality, a person’s value isn’t based on what they do, or whether they are an A-student or C-student. It is based on their inherent value as people.
The best thing a school or teacher can do for a failing student is not deny the reality that they are failing, but instead acknowledge the truth and then come alongside the student.
Help kids understand that failure does not define them, help them learn to accept failure as a part of life and see it as an opportunity to grow and learn.
The world is a harsh place, and people won’t always be valued and appreciated by those around them, but if students can learn at a young age how to face that reality, it could make a world of difference for them.
(Note: Due to a correction in the related story, this editorial is slightly modified from the print version.)