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Lawmakers Ask State School Board to Scrap SAGE Test

readerwalker via Creative Commons

Two Republican State Senators are asking the Utah State Board of Education to do away with its new computer-adaptive SAGE test and replace it with a different system.

Republican Senators Aaron Osmond and Howard Stephenson are behind the push to suspend SAGE testing. Utah students took the test for the first time last spring. But Osmond says it’s already a point of political contention and frustration for students, parents and many educators.

“We are not suggesting that testing isn’t important, that we don’t have testing, that we don’t need to know where our students are, he says. “But the sheer amount of testing that we’re doing right now relative to SAGE and the challenges that we’ve had with the SAGE testing tool have created a lot of concern in the state.”

SAGE, or Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence tests students in grades three through eleven on language arts, math, science and writing. Osmond says it rolled out with a number of technical issues.

“And then there is the simple issue of scheduling,” he says. “Many of the schools have their labs scheduled from now to the end of the year, just doing testing, so we’re taking time away from instruction.

Osmond and Stephenson have suggested the state replace SAGE with another computer adaptive test called NWEA— which is used in other states.  

Emily Wheeler, a spokesman for the school board says the board will discuss the issue at its meeting Thursday. But she added, implementing another test will likely not address the concerns highlighted by Osmond and Stephenson.  

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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