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Foundation Skills Assessment - FSA

The Foundation Skills Assessment is an annual, province-wide assessment of British Columbia students’ academic skills, and provides a snapshot of how well BC students are learning foundation skills in Reading Comprehension, Writing, and Numeracy. These are standardized tests held for students in Grades 4 and 7. 

These tests are not optional unless students meet a very narrow set of requirements for exemption.

HCOS will be administering the tests. Here is some information to help you and your child prepare for the tests.

There are four categories of testing; the testing in total takes about four hours. Here are the categories which are tested:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Numeracy
  • Reading / Writing Connections

The reading comprehension and numeracy components consist of multiple choice and written-response questions. The writing component consists of two writing tasks – one extended (longer) piece, one focused (shorter) piece, and a set of math problems, where the child needs to show their work. The multiple choice questions are done online. You will be mailed a booklet with the writing component.

The written tests will be marked by teachers from HCOS and the results sent to the support teacher.

The results will look something like this:

  • 4 Exceeds expectations – The level of performance at which a student exceeds the normal expectations for their grade. The student is working or has academic knowledge beyond the present grade level of the test.
  • 3 Meets expectations – The level of performance at which a student meets the widely held expectations for the grade on this test. This is where most students should fall.
  • 2 Approaching expectations - The level of performance at which the student shows inconsistencies in demonstrating the skills needed to meet the expectations (some may be at, some below, some not present).
  • 1 Not Yet Within expectations –The level of performance at which a student did not demonstrate sufficient skill to meet expectations. A teacher would want to know more about the reasons for a student’s low performance and would work with the parent to see where the problem might lie. 

FSA Questions and Answers

What does FSA stand for? FSA stands for Foundation Skills Assessment and this test is given to all students in BC enrolled in grades 4 and 7.
What subjects are tested? The student is tested in Reading Comprehension, Writing, and Math Numeracy.

What is an invigilator?


An invigilator is a person responsible for supervising a test. The invigilator for the FSAs is either a teacher (in our case, with HCOS) or any person the administration deems as unbiased. This can be the parent of the child. 

What time is involved for each test?

The time varies from test to test 


  • Reading Comprehension 
    • Part one: Collaboration 10-15 minutes
    • Part two: 30 minutes 
  • Writing   
    • 30 minutes  
  • Numeracy                                           
    • 30 minutes 
  • Online Reading: 60 minutes
  • Online Numeracy: 60 minutes

Total time less than four hours.