Future of SAGE testing called into question

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It was developed specifically for Utah and Utah students. It was implemented only one year ago but over the weekend two state senators called for the state to do away with SAGE testing, which is an acronym for the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence.

Not only did Republican Senators Howard Stephenson and Aaron Osmond call for a suspension of SAGE testing, but they also recommended a replacement for it with Northwest Evaluators Association testing system.

Judy Park, associate superintendent at the Utah State Office of Education, says she learned about the problem over the weekend and she says it was a total shock.

“There’s no doubt that SAGE is not perfect. There is some room for improvement,” Park says. “It is a new test, there is some new technology, it’s a new system. But the concerns have been greatly exaggerated.

“As the concerns come in to our office we play close attention to those. We’ve heard those concerns, we’ve used those concerns to improve the tests.”

Park is mostly concerned that the positive aspects of SAGE testing are being left out.

“For the most part the response is very, very positive. Kids and teachers like the test. We get so many reports that students are more engaged, that they’re more focused around the questions rather than in the past.

“There has been such positive, positive feedback. I’m disappointed that the only thing mentioned from the Senate are concerns.”

Park says there is no way the state can effectively just buy a testing system off the shelf. SAGE testing was developed specifically for Utah after going through a process taking many factors into consideration.

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