Thank you Sen. Osmond and Rep. Cunningham.
Utah S.B. 204, attractively named “Parental Rights in Public Education”*, among a lot of other things, states:
“(f) providing that scores on the tests and assessments required under Subsection (2)(a) and Subsection (3) [
shall] may not be considered in determining:
(i) a student's academic grade for the appropriate course [
(ii) whether a student [
shall] may advance to the next grade level.”
Simply put, I will no longer be able to count my student’s SAGE test scores on their grades. That includes the 8 benchmark tests and the year end test that I am required to give.
Consider these things:
- I’m supposed to use the data from the benchmark tests to accurately influence my upcoming instruction, filling in gaps that show up in the test data.
- The data from the end of the year SAGE test is supposed to be used to accurately rate schools and teachers.
- Students hate tests.
- Most students only work out difficult problems on tests because it counts on their grade. (How many times did you ask your teacher “is this on the test?”)
- Some students will purposely fail a test to spite the teacher that pushes them if they know they will not be held accountable for it.
- Students hate tests. (Oh, did I say that already?)
- Most students, if they are not held responsible for it, DO NOT CARE about test scores.
In case you don’t believe #3 & #6, here is what one of my students drew on his notes today (5/18)
We finished our SAGE tests over a week ago, so this sentiment is a bit removed from his having to take the test.
I can guarantee my scores will go down next year. But even worse is that I will be making instructional decisions on faulty data; test results on tests that students have absolutely no investment in.
And finally, I ask you Mr. Osmond and Mr. Cunningham; If it’s not fair to grade a student on their SAGE test scores, how can it possible be fair to grade teachers and schools on them?
*After all, who could argue that parents should have rights when it comes to their child’s education.