By Sandra Venema, Associate Director of Elementary Education
You may have heard about the FSAs over the years, and as your children approach grades 4 and 7, have questions about what they are, what they are designed to measure, and how your child will feel about participating in them.
What are the FSAs?
The FSAs are assessments which are administered in grades 4 and 7 in October and November of the school year. They are designed to measure numeracy (math) and literacy (reading and writing) skills, and since they take place early in the year, they are based on skills expected at the end of the previous year (grades 3 and 6). They include online and written assessments.
The math and reading online assessments are interactive. They include matching, drop-down menus, drag and drop, and sequencing activities. These activities are designed to be engaging and fun for students. Each of these assessments (reading and math) will take about an hour to complete. The online sections are computer-marked.
The written section includes a collaborative component and reading response activity, a writing activity, and math questions. We have scheduled collaborative writing session during community classes.
After completing the collaborative activity, children will take their booklets home to complete the rest of the assessment: a writing activity and three written math questions. Each of these assessments (writing and math) will take about 45 minutes.
What is the Timeline for Writing the FSA?
You can log in to the FSA website and take the Online Math and Reading Assessments anytime between October 1 and November 9 during regular school hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Your HLST will provide you with a link and your password information.
After your child brings their booklet home from community classes, you will have until November 9 to complete the remaining written and online sections. You will want to allow 3 ½ hours to complete those, which can be spaced over several days during that time.
When you’ve completed the booklet, you can return it to your teacher who will mark the written response sections. Your HLST will be glad to share the results of the assessment with you.
Do I have to complete the FSA with a certified teacher?
This is something you can discuss with your HLST. Most of our families take the assessment in their own homes. Ideally, it would be great if you could find a friend who could oversee the process or get together with several friends to write together; however, if you can’t find a friend or someone to oversee the assessments, you may oversee them yourself. Be sure to communicate the plan with your teacher.
Participating in the FSAs is a Distributed Learning (enrolled) requirement and is also an opportunity for us to show the Ministry of Education that DL programs work well AND are a great option for students!
Encourage your child to view this as a valuable learning experience rather than focusing on specific results. When it’s presented this way, families are often pleasantly surprised by how much their children enjoy the experience.
Thank you for allowing us to partner with you in your children’s education. We pray that this will be a valuable learning experience for all our grade 4 and 7 learners, and we appreciate your help in administering this important assessment.