Letter: Student put fundamental assessment into question

Dear Editor,

Throughout B.C., all students recently wrote Fundamental Skills Assessment tests.

There has been controversy for years over the value and validity of the tests. The following experience by a child who just turned 10 at Roots and Wings Montessori School may help to convince us of their futility.

The nine-to-12-year-olds are preparing speeches for their involvement at the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUM) in New York in April. Their topic is capital punishment.

After research and classroom discussion, this is what one student wrote as part of her speech:

“I think capital punishment and executions should be permanently banned all over the world. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, you can’t do something so bad that you have to have your life taken away.

“Anyone can learn. Anyone can change, they just sometimes need some help. And instead of killing people for crimes, they can tell them that it was wrong.

“Together, we can repair the negativity that is passing through their minds.

“The authority figures in the world that support this inhumane practice need to reconsider. Sometimes they get the wrong person. They need to have more evidence.

“Innocent people are having their perfectly good lives taken away by unkind, hostile people.

“Even the politicians and judges just have to reconsider. We can tell them, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’

“We can ask them, ‘How would you like it if someone with more power than you killed you?’

“And they might change their minds.

“Even though I’m only 10, I can see a world without capital punishment.

“I want this dream to come to life, and so do the people who maybe were tricked into a crime, or accidentally did something.

“I want a world without capital punishment, and you probably do, too.”

The same morning that she wrote that, the child was given the first section of the FSA test, which required her to read two passages and write a paragraph answering a question about them.

She had a meltdown because she couldn’t figure out what the marker wanted her to say. All the way home she expounded to her mother about the ambiguity of the question.

What she wrote would have labelled her as being “below expectations” for Grade 4.

Just saying…

Kristin Cassie, Langley

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