The bill covers many areas, but one change between 2014-2015 is problematic for Utah teachers and administrators.
Utah Code Section 53A-1-603.4.f was altered as follows
93 (ii) whether a student [shall] may advance to the next grade level.
The practical translation for educators is this: you can’t use SAGE Summative as part of students’ term 4/final grades.
Legislating that the results of SAGE Summative may not be considered in a student’s grade is an unnecessary intrusion into school and classroom management. In practice, this results in the SAGE Summative not being used as a the summative assessment for the class when it is appropriate to do so. For example, a Biology class could use SAGE Summative as a comprehensive final, as it covers the standards taught. Instead, students may be required to take a separate final exam within 1-2 weeks of taking the SAGE final exam.
As far as grade promotion being determined by standardized assessments, are there any Utah LEAs using them for that purpose? I am not aware of any. It would be more appropriate to say that students’ promotion may not solely be determined by a test, rather than mandating it not be used at all. As student non-promotion decisions are currently handled on a case-by-case basis, the legislature should not seek to limit the information parents and educators can use in reaching a decision.
Especially when there is concern about over-testing, we should be cautious in amending our education policy in ways that may require teachers to develop redundant assessments.
I’ve already emailed these thoughts to my legislators. I encourage you to communicate what you know and think as well.