Foundation Skills Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Foundation Skills Assessment?
The Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) is an annual province-wide assessment of all B.C. students’ academic skills in grades 4 and 7, and provides parents, teachers, schools, school districts and the Ministry of Education with important information on how well students are progressing in the foundation skills of Reading, Writing, and Numeracy.
The FSA has been developed for an October administration to Grade 4 and 7 students.  As the assessment is taking place early in the year, the content of the assessment is based on the end of year profiles for Grade 3 and Grade 6.
The redesigned FSA is aligned with the redesigned BC curriculum and has a focus on collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and the foundations of literacy and numeracy.
What are the test results used for?  
The tests offer a snapshot of student performance at a given moment in time and offer teachers an opportunity to assess their students’ levels of understanding and knowledge in specific markers.  Data including scores from the FSA allows for in-year adjustments and is a continuous process. It is part of our educational system.
How can parents encourage their students about test results?
Parents need to know that the results provide valuable information about student progress and an indicator of whether the curriculum is meeting education expectations. Results are not meant to highlight affluent areas and neighbourhood schools.  
Understand, results are only a snapshot and do not provide a complete picture of your child’s ability.  That information is best obtained from your child’s teacher.  Encourage your child letting them know their ability is not based on one test alone but on several indicators and their teacher is dedicated to their overall success.  
Key Points about the FSA
  • The Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA) tests administered by the province in Grades 4 and 7 every year have value. By administering the FSA early in the school year, districts and schools can adjust the delivery of education programs as necessary so that students can get the maximum benefit for the remainder of the school year.
  • All written response questions for the FSA are scored at the school or district level. The Ministry provides support for scoring/training that includes a set of provincial exemplars using the 2018/19 student responses for the written response questions in reading, writing and numeracy.
  • The FSA marking system follows a scoring rubric established by the Ministry. The scoring rubric is based on four numeracy scores. Each year Comox Valley school district is involved in a process of pulling exemplars that fit into each of the four numeracy scores. This helps districts around the province mark FSAs.
  • The district also refers to the FSA Provincial Marking Monitoring Report, which provides evidence for the reliability, validity and fairness of the FSA marking process.
  • How a district ranks compared to another district is not a valid indicator of the quality educational programs, the educational staff, or any individual school within a district.
  • There are several factors to consider regarding student and school success and they are often complex and varied. For example, a key driver of student success is good nutrition and, unfortunately, not all students have access to a healthy breakfast each day. That is why we have a robust meal program at every school in our district. Our philosophy is every student regardless of social or economic background will be assured a healthy meal or snack.
  • The hard work, collaboration and dedication of the district’s teachers and staff is what will ultimately lead to student achievement and prepare them to graduate at the highest level, with the skills and competencies needed to be successful in this ever-changing global economy.
Find more information on the Ministry of Education’s website at 

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