Fraser Institutepoints at worrying trends in BC’s testing of Grade 10 Students

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Only about half of B.C.’s grade 10 students wrote mandatory student assessments in 2019/20, with majority not proficient in numeracy

 

VANCOUVER—Only half of B.C.’s grade 10 students wrote mandatory literacy and numeracy assessments in 2019/20, with 60 per cent of those students writing not proficient in numeracy, finds a new study released by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Not only are grade 10 participation rates in B.C.’s grade 10 student assessments worryingly low, but the results also show low levels of academic proficiency in core subjects,” said Paige MacPherson, associate director of education at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Worrying Trends in BC’s Testing of Grade 10 Students.

The study finds that only 52 per cent of B.C. students completed the grade 10 Literacy Assessment in 2019/20, and only 47 per cent completed the grade 10 Numeracy Assessment.

Critically, of those students who completed the grade 10 assessments, only 40 per cent of students scored proficient or above in numeracy (ability to recognize and apply math concepts), and 75 per cent scored proficient or above in literacy.

Only 17 schools in B.C. recorded participation rates of 90 per cent or more for students completing the grade 10 Literacy and Numeracy Assessments, which are supposed to be mandatory for all grade 10 students, unless a parent formally withdraws their child.

“A number of factors have left a significant gap in critical student testing, and at the same time, we can see students are struggling with proficiency in core subjects,” MacPherson said.

“Standardized testing is a critical tool that helps schools improve student performance and parents and educators should make increased participation a priority.”

Key findings

  • Only 52 percent of BC grade 10 students completed the grade 10 Literacy Assessment in 2019/20.
  • Only 47 percent of BC grade 10 students completed the grade 10 Numeracy Assessment in 2019/20.
  • Of those students who completed the grade 10 Literacy Assessment, 74 percent were proficient or above.
  • Of those students who completed the grade 10 Numeracy Assessment, only 40 percent were proficient or above.
  • Only 17 schools saw 90 percent or more students complete the grade 10 Literacy and Numeracy Assessments.
  • COVID-19 related school closures, a push from the BC Teachers Federation for parents to pull their children from standardized testing, and a significant change to the nature of student testing in BC may have all contributed to the gap in testing data.