Monthly Archive for August, 2008

School Board Concerns Ignored by Ministry of Education

WV parents scoff at ‘farcical’ reading test —  Questions ‘Mickey Mouse’

North Shore News, Feb. 01, 1981 By Susan Cardinal

Angry parents and teachers attended a meeting of the West Vancouver School Board Monday to protest a provincially administered reading test they call “ridiculous and silly.”

Although West Vancouver students in Grades 4, 8 and 12 scored well in the provincial test, one woman charged that the tests themselves were “farcical” and “Mickey Mouse.”

“It’s a phony test. It makes them (the students) look good,” said Tunya Audain, a parent on the panel assigned to review the results of the Grade 8 test.

“I’d really like to underline my feelings of dismay that the test itself is ‘inadequate’ and ‘flawed’,

“It makes me question the quality of education itself, if that’s the means by which it’s tested,” she said.

The provincial assessment was conducted under the Ministry of Education in 1980 to test the reading skills and comprehension of students.

The review process by the three parent and teacher panels began in late October. The panels were supposed to examine only the results but members studied the vehicle of testing as well.

Audain called on the school board to take a stronger approach with the ministry to publicize the inadequate assessment.

Sylvia Rayer, chairperson of the Grade 8 panel, charged that the wording of the test was ‘ambiguous’ and that several of the questions solicited such simple answers that the test didn’t measure the comprehension of the students. Other questions, said Rayer, were also so ambiguous that a bright student would become confused.

Ron Fenwick, district director for the board, said the problem with the tests is not a new one.

But he said “we’re slightly skeptical about the usefulness of taking these complaints to the Ministry of Education.”

The same recommendations to change the wording and make the test tougher were taken to the ministry in 1977, explained Fenwick, but three years later the same questions were asked despite protests by the board in 1977.

It’s extremely frustrating to deal with the province, said Fenwick, and to see the same items come up again is “particularly frustrating” he said.

Two representatives of the school board are scheduled to meet with the ministry officials, February 6, to discuss the assessment.

Board Chairman Lilian Theirsch said the board would also bring up the test deficiencies at the March meeting of the B. C. School Trustees Association.