About the First Nations Schools Assessment and Certification Process
The FNSA First Nations Schools Assessment and Certification Process is a five-year cycle of review and follow-up that was created by and for First Nations schools well over a decade ago, and is now recognized as a key component of BCTEA, Reciprocal Tuition, and other key agreements related to First Nations education in BC.
In year one of the process, participating schools review all aspects of school operations, including student achievement data and other outcome measures, and survey students, parents, school staff, and other community members to measure their satisfaction with the school’s programs. Schools then review all of the information collected and analyze their strengths and areas for improvement, resulting in School Growth Plans that outline intended activities for maintaining successes and addressing areas for growth.
Schools are supported to help ensure that they implement the internal review with fidelity. All schools are invited to an information meeting before year one of the cycle, grants are provided to assist with effective implementation, and a School Assessment Coach is assigned to all participating schools to support all steps of the review. An external review then completes year one, involving a school visit from an appointed team of individuals who review the findings of the internal review and the School Growth Plan. That team provides suggestions and feedback.
In year two of the cycle, schools begin implementing their School Growth Plans, with funding grants provided to assist and a School Assessment Coach assigned to support and monitor implementation of the planned activities. Schools subsequently continue to address their goals before beginning the cycle again three years later.
Interested schools also may request “Certification” by the FNSA, which involves meeting a set of collectively established standards. Specifically, Certification by the FNSA is based on the external review team’s determination that:
● the Internal School Assessment Report has been adequately completed;
● the school environment observed by the External Assessment Team is consistent with the content of the Internal School Assessment Report;
● there is clear evidence that the school is meeting expectations in core programs: Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, and the First Nations Language and Culture Program; and
● the School Growth Plan is appropriate and feasible.
The validity of the assessment process and accompanying certification component has been recognized by a variety of education stakeholders, and the process has continually evolved over time to ensure that it adequately reflects emerging issues and priorities.