The percentage of Grade 4 students in the Kelowna area who are doing well on standardized literacy and math exams has been trending down for four years.
At the Grade 7 level, student performance on standardized exams is holding constant for the reading tests, but declining on the numeracy exams.
The past three years of student scores on the standardized provincial exams "supports the need for the District's intervention strategies for numeracy and early literacy," superintendent Kevin Kaardal writes in a report going Wednesday to school trustees.
But on "most" of the local results, Kaardal says, results are at or above the provincial average. However, this is largely because provincial scores have also declined.
All B.C. students in Grade 4 and Grade 7 are required by the Ministry of Education to write the standardized exams, known as the Foundational Skills Assessment. This year's tests are now being administered at the Grade 4 level.
The B.C. Teachers Federation opposes the tests as not being a good indicator of student progress, and teachers have sent home a note to parents encouraging them not to allow their children to write the exams.
In a note to parents last month, Kaardal said the government and the school district expects most eligible children to write the FSAs, with few exceptions.
"The assessment 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," Kaardal wrote in his email to parents.
In the 2015-16 school year, 88% of Kelowna-area Grade 4 students were said to be "on track, extending or meeting or exceeding expectations" on the FSA reading exam. That was eight percent higher than the provincial average.
That percentage declined every year up to 2019-20, the latest year for which results are available, when it was 78%. That was comparable to the provincial average.
On the math exams, the number of Kelowna-area Grade 4 students who essentially received a passing mark fell steadily from 80% in 2015-16 to 70% in 2019-20; a similar downward trend was evident in the provincial average.
At the Grade 7 level, the number of Kelowna-area students who received a passing grade on the literacy exams remained level at about 78% between 2015 and 2020.
For the Grade 7 math exams, there has been a slight downward trend in the performance of Kelowna-area students. In the 2015-16 school year, 71% of students received a passing grade, with the percentage declining in three of the four subsequent years, to 65% in 2019-20.
At the provincial level, the number of Grade 7 students earning a passing grade on the standardized math exams has remained around the 60% mark in recent years.