The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District continues to lag behind the provincial average when it comes to the Ministry of Education’s Foundational Skills Assessment tests.
The ministry uses the tests to assess Grade 4 and 7 students’ comprehension of reading, writing, and arithmetic. About 75,000 students took part in this year’s test, or about 84 per cent of students across B.C.
According to the data released by Ministry of Education, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows’ students in the two grades trailed the provincial average in all three areas.
Of the 1,022 Grade 4 students in the school district, 806 took part in the reading test. Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows’ students scored a 54 per cent average, meeting the provincial requirements, while seven per cent exceeded the level. That compares to the government average of 70 per cent that met or exceeded the standards based on the provincial curriculum.
A total of 216, or 21 per cent, did not take the reading portion of the test.
Those same students came in with a 64 per cent level of efficiency in the writing portion, with one per cent exceeding the level. The government average was 72 per cent. Another 226, or 22 per cent, did not participate.
When it comes to math, 56 per cent of local Grade 4 students met the expectations, while five per cent exceeded the numbers. The provincial average was 64 per cent. Two hundred and nineteen students, or 21 per cent, did not take part in the math portion of the test.
Girls scored higher, on average, in all three categories for Grade 4 students.
The numbers weren’t any better for the district’s Grade 7 students.
A total of 673 of the 1,038 Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows eligible students participated in the reading portion of the test, or 65 per cent. Only 43 per cent met the government standards in reading, while six per cent exceeded. That compares to a provincial average of 64 per cent in reading.
Fifty-five per cent of local students met the writing standard, with two per cent exceeding the mark, compared to the 71 per cent provincial average. Another 36 per cent of students did not take the test.
In arithmetic, 40 per cent of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Grade 7 students met the requirements, while two per cent surpassed the standard. The provincial average was 60 per cent.
Female Grade 7 students outshone their male counterparts in both reading and writing, while recording identical averages in math.
Education Minister George Abbott defended the tests, saying they provide a clear understanding of where students stand in the three critical areas of education.
“FSA results are an important tool in measuring student achievement province-wide,” said Abbott. “They give parents, teachers, school districts and schools a snapshot of how students are doing in the core skills of reading, writing and numeracy.”
He said parents want this information, and he believes the more information parents have, the better able they are to support and help to improve the learning of their children.
Officials from School District No. 42 could not be reached for comment.