Center on International Education Benchmarking

1. British Columbia Keeps Provincial Assessments in Place

British Columbia announced it will keep its annual Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) in reading, writing, and numeracy for 4th and 7th graders in place. Ministry of Education spokesperson Craig Sorochan said that the FSAs could help the province “monitor potential COVID-related impacts on student learning and readjust to support staff and students, if gaps are identified.” The BC Teachers Federation, which has long opposed the provincial exam, urged parents to withdraw their students from the test. Terry Moore, the president of the Federation, said “we don’t need another round of FSA tests to tell the same story year after year after year.” For more, see Globe and Mail.


2. Fewer University Graduates Land Full-Time Jobs in Singapore Amid the Pandemic


The latest annual employment survey finds that university graduates in Singapore were less likely to find permanent full-time jobs after graduation in 2020 due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Six months after graduation, 69.8 percent of 2020 graduates had found permanent full-time jobs, compared to 81.7 percent in 2019. Overall, 93.6 percent of graduates found employment, but 22.3 percent of graduates took part-time or temporary jobs, triple the number from the year before. Acknowledging the challenging labor market, Jessica Tan, a member of Singapore’s parliament, encouraged businesses to convert part-time trainees to full-time employment. “Workers need to not only get the opportunity to learn, but they also need…deeper, long-term commitments” from employers. Read more in Channel News Asia and The Straits Times.

3. Hong Kong Cancels National Assessments

The Education Bureau (EDB) has announced the annual Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) test will be canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The TSA is usually administered to students in grades three, six, and nine and assesses their Chinese, English, and math abilities. EDB canceled these exams as a result of the prolonged school closures to allow for schools to “make the most out of the remaining time to conduct in-person classes.” Educators can still use the already prepared TSA materials to aid in teaching and learning through the Hong Kong Education City online portal. EDB will work with the Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority to provide further guidance to schools on how to best assess students to inform instruction. Read more from the South China Morning Post

Students attend to take the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE)

4. England Announces More School Recovery Funds, Plans for Summer School

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson

In an effort to help students catch up after the latest nationwide coronavirus lockdown and school closures, England’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced an extra £400 million (US$562 million) in school funding. Schools will have full discretion in their use of the funds, but Johnson said that secondary schools in particular will be asked to consider providing face-to-face summer school for some students. The government says it will be up to schools to decide how and if they run summer schools, how long they will be, and which students will be invited to attend. These funds are on top of the £300 million (US$421 million) announced in January for school catch-up projects including a nationwide tutoring program and programs to support early-years language development. Read more at BBC.