01/08/2013 12:34 EST | Updated 03/10/2013 05:12 EDT

End of FSA test in sight, says BCTF

The B.C. Teachers' Federation says the controversial provincewide Foundation Skills Assessment tests could soon be scrapped if the NDP wins the spring election.

Students in Grades 4 and 7 are gearing up to take the standardized tests, which the Fraser Institute uses to rank schools, next week.

But BCTF president Susan Lambert says the tests don't match up with the government's own education policies.

“That's in complete contradiction to an education policy calling for innovation, creativity and personalization,” she said.

Lambert believes she has support from within the Liberal government.

"I think the current [education] minister is not in favour of this form of testing,” she said.

The Opposition New Democrats are promising to revamp the FSA tests in B.C. schools if they win the election in May.

But NDP education critic Robin Austin says the party isn't about to completely scrap standardized testing of Grades 4 and 7 students.

He says the New Democrats, who introduced the controversial tests, will remodel them to measure more than students' writing and math skills.

The plan to broaden the tests is one of the few election campaign promises the NDP has made so far, along with taxing banks to provide post-secondary students with non-refundable grants, restoring corporate income tax rates to 2008 levels and ditching the balanced budget law.

Austin says the NDP's redesigned school tests will not be a rubber-stamped wish list by the teachers' union.

Education minister responds

B.C.'s Education Minister Don McRae says he has no plans to scrap the controversial test, but there's room to change the way it is done.

"Maybe a different time of year for example. Could it be done earlier in the school year and the information shared with the teacher, with the student in the class right then and there?" he said.

McRae says despite the BCTF's opposition, the tests get a fair share of support from other educators.

"At this stage, we're working with the FSA. It'll be administered in the coming months and the data will be used and shared with parents."