Utah's new adaptive testing system draws praise, criticism

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  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 23, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    To "Fred44" actually they have. They had an official strike in 1964, and walked out in 1989 and again 1991. They have threatened to walk out before as recently as 2010.

    They may have a responsibility to give the test, but they can also be the ones complaining the loudest about the testing. Instead, they are the quietest people about the testing, and are often the ones telling us how great it is.

    I don't like paying taxes, but I still do. This issue is no different.

    To "Reader81" I have more experience in what goes on in a classroom than you think. I know that some teachers work hard. I also know that many teachers are lazy and just throw worksheet after worksheet they found on the internet at their students. Then, they complain about having to grade them.

    The point is, if the SAGE testing is worthless then why are the teachers silent about how bad it is?

  • Reader81 SLC, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:16 p.m.

    Thank you, Fred 44!

  • Reader81 SLC, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:11 p.m.

    @ RedShirt
    I think you may need to be a teacher for a year and see how much work a teacher does. I had a friend who worked in the corporate sector and taught on the side. He said that compared to his corporate job, he did a ton of work that wasn't for. Talk to all the teachers who take work home at night and over the weekends, and come into work over the summer (more unpaid time). Maybe you should have trusted your gut instinct and not said what you did.

    Concerning the testing- the data is great if there were more time and resources to plan targeted and differentiated. More tier 2 interventionists are needed to address needs if classroom sizes are large. This is especially true with high need and academically diverse populations. An elementary school teacher who is expected to teach a range of 5-20 lessons a day (depending on grade and attention span), review student outcomes in the classroom (not including high stakes testing), meet with various stake holders, and serve on education improvement committees within the school has limited planning and intervention time.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 22, 2014 7:44 p.m.


    Again, the folks at USOE work for the state. When have you seen other state workers stand up and oppose laws at the risk of their job? It hasn't happened and it never will. The legal term would be insubordination which could result in their immediate termination.

    Teachers have never gone on strike in Utah, it is against the law. Several years ago there was a one day sickout that did result in a raise for teachers. Teachers like USOE have a responsibility in accordance with the law to give the Sage test. Teachers are trying to work through the system to fix the problems, with both the Common Core, and the Sage testing. That is all they can do. If they refuse to give the test, they are insubordinate and will lose their jobs immediately.

    I have a question for you, since you and many other citizens believe this is a bad law and a bad idea, what are you and others doing to influence the state legislature who will bring another 200 plus education bills to the hill next January and pass at least 100 of them?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 22, 2014 3:00 p.m.

    To "Fred44" where are teachers and the USOE fighting against SAGE? From what I can see, the USOE supports SAGE and defends it. The main people that I can find that are trying to defeat SAGE are the same people who are against Common Core.

    Again, when will teachers unite and kill this time sucking and money wasting effort? They have united before and engaged in a strike and were able to get raises. Why are they not fighting this as you claim they are? The internet is nearly vacant of teachers publically opposing the SAGE testing.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 22, 2014 2:25 p.m.


    They are telling the state. Teachers have complained individually, district superintendents have complained, the UEA has been gathering information since Sage rolled out this year and forwarding it to the USOE. To think that teachers or their association have any power in this state is just not accurate. If they did, their wages would be higher, their class sizes would be lower and they wouldn't start year end testing the first day of the fourth quarter.

    When you say the state if you are referring to the USOE, they have the same problem teachers do, they are trying to meet a legislative mandate. The leaders of the Utah State Legislature are really not that concerned about what they hear from USOE, and even less concerned about what they hear from teachers or their professional association. They are all knowing, they don't need to talk to the folks in the trenches. Education is a top down operation with the legislature micromanaging the system but not taking any responsibility for the damage they do every January.

  • PotatoHead Davis, UT
    April 22, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    The SAGE is a computer adaptive test that allows more information to be gathered about the students cognitive ability in a shorter amount of time. The SAGE testing bank consists of over ten thousand questions with the ability to scale the level of each question to match each student's cognitive ability.
    The test is not taken to see what the child has learned in school, it's a test to see how the child's brains are working...
    Cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the sim­plest to the most com­plex. They have more to do with the mech­a­nisms of how we learn, remem­ber, problem-solve, and pay atten­tion rather than with any actual knowl­edge.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 22, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    To "Fred44" if the tools are ineffective and a waste of time, why are the teachers not fighting it? I have spoken with teachers that love the testing, but admit that the testing is ineffective and has little purpose. So again, why is it that teachers are not telling the state to drop the testing so that they have time to teach?

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 22, 2014 9:40 a.m.


    You said "As a teacher do you keep using ineffective tools or do you use effective tools. You are now saying that the state is mandating ineffective tools. Why are teachers going along subjecting their students to ineffective testing?" I can help you with that. It is the law. Teachers are doing a whole number of things they know to be ineffective because it is the law. If they don't do it, they will be fired, because it is the law. The classroom teacher has little to no control over their classroom, they must follow federal state and district mandates,if they don't they risk termination.

    We are not currently seeing a teacher shortage, but if the economy turns around anytime soon, you will quickly start seeing a teacher shortage. The current micromanagement mentality of the Utah Legislature has taken the power away from teachers, but made them solely accountable for student test scores. The students and parents have no responsibility for their education in the current system.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    April 22, 2014 5:01 a.m.

    This is clearly biased testing and all the data they glean from this plan cannot be trusted or believed. With so many parents with-drawing their children from the testing process or being forced to take the test under threat, duress, and intimidation should be enough to invalidate any information they get.

    When education is created and organized and adapted to meet defined standards it invalidates all education as a laboratory experiment. Education has no limits and schools have no right to regulate knowledge to meet control standards.

    Everything that education is comes from those who are creating the course of what education should follow. This kind of education in Utah stifles and stagnates progress and the future with old information. Education should follow progress and learn from those who are creating new thoughts and ideas.

    Dwelling on historical knowledge is regressive eduction, students and children need the new untested wisdom that is impossible for government to test. Teachers are the only persons who should decided the quality and subjects and judge if a child is learning. Can they learn and create beyond classroom books and materials is more important than what a teachers limited knowledge can supply.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 21, 2014 11:05 p.m.

    @Steve Jarvis:

    Students become seniors at high school, but can't pass eighth grade math.

    Almost half of our entering college students are in need of remedial classes.

    The number of people on government handouts does not reflect an educated society.

    So what good are the yearly tests, assessments, and accountability? It's been around for over three decades with poor results.

  • Frank22 London, 00
    April 21, 2014 10:28 p.m.

    The Students must be given moral values and proper education which is a responsibility of teachers to analyse kids skills and deal with them accordingly. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) are four strong pillars of educational careers for students which must be given special focus since early childhood.
    Professional Coursework Writing Service UK

  • Claire B West Jordan, UT
    April 21, 2014 9:44 p.m.

    The bigger issue here is that people seem to be ignoring the FACT that for decades now we've increased both standardized testing and per pupil funding, with NO positive effects! Proficiency, graduation rates, etc. have all remained the same or decreased! If you had a fire you wouldn't throw more combustibles onto it, you'd grab the fire extinguisher/hose and try to put it out. It doesn't matter how much you increase spending/testing, until the actual EDUCATION process is improved you won't see a change. And for those arguing that these new tests with their faster results are trying to improve that process, while you MAY be correct, I agree with the Christel Swasey woman from the article; children turn in assignments and tests all year long, THOSE are what Parents, Teachers, and Administrators can and should use to evaluate a child's progress. Keep it local. From what I have seen of the SAGE tests the questions are inappropriate for school period, or are given at VERY inappropriate age/grade levels.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    April 21, 2014 8:16 p.m.

    Please no more stories how Asian nations do it. Their nations don't generally produce creative thinkers. Their children are miserable. I prefer not to go down this route.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    April 21, 2014 8:14 p.m.

    Testing is NOT the best way to evaluate. It is just a way to evaluate and standardized testing is just a poor way to evaluate generally.

    Authentic assessment is when students access knowledge and use it, use it to create something. Use it to critically analyze something. That is the best assessment.

  • Dr Gary Thompson South Jordan, UT
    April 21, 2014 8:09 p.m.

    The irony in this article is interesting. The Utah Teacher of the Year stated that SAGE testing is "Brilliant". I for one do not want my child taught by a teacher who is going to allow a experimental, non validated or normed achievement test whose results will determine, in a large part, if she gets to advance in or even keep her job. Not exactly "rigorous" thinking. Oh..and $5,000.00 to the first Pro Sage person who can produce a copy of a independent, industry standard pilot tests results. Clue: they don't exist. They are building this plane while it's in the air. I make a living off data and test results. My objections are not political. They are based on basic, first year graduate school principles of the concepts of validity and informed consent prior to conducting experimental design studies on children....for a private research company employed by my very smart peers & colleagues. Wake up Utah. We gave $39,000,000.00 to AIR to make these tests. We can't see the test itself, but we sure can see validity results and statistics. Without such, we may be allowing the biggest Trojan Horse in Utah's history into the classroom.

  • CDL Los Angeles, CA
    April 21, 2014 6:29 p.m.

    [When asked about schools that have seen success with data tracking, she said there may be positive "side effects" from testing, but they come at the expense of personal relationships between parent, child and teacher.

    "Some people feel that data is a wonderful thing," she said. "I personally feel that the human touch and being close and loving and intimately involved with the day-to-day struggles of the child to read and write and do math, that’s how I, as a teacher, have always worked."]

    I do not know what she is referring to as a loss of personal relationships. These methods when utilized appropriately helps to build those relationships as the teacher shares information and solicits support as one is suppose to.
    Also, with regards to assessing where students are at teachers are suppose to be assessing in an ongoing manner regardless of these computer tests. One simply does not solely rely on the computer testing. It's as simple as that.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 21, 2014 4:59 p.m.

    You can thank the Utah micromanaging legislature for creating more and more testing.

    If you're tired of all these tests then it's finally time to stop pulling that R lever

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 21, 2014 3:23 p.m.

    To "teachermom6" I have been in a classroom recently. When one of my children was in Kindergarten the teacher realized 3 months into the school year that he was already reading on a 1st grade level. And that was the best kindergarten teacher I have ever met.

    I also know that ADHD is over diagnosed by teachers who are not trained in medicine and cannot diagnose issues like that accurately. The typical ADHD diagnosis by teachers is just a way for them to cover the fact that they don't present their material in an engaging way. See "Overdiagnosis of A.D.H.D." in Psychology Today to see what the effects are of teachers telling parents their kids are ADHD.

    If the standardized tests do not tell how well a child is doing in school, then why do we do them? As you point out, they don't tell us if a child understands the material but does not test well. As a teacher do you keep using ineffective tools or do you use effective tools. You are now saying that the state is mandating ineffective tools. Why are teachers going along subjecting their students to ineffective testing?

  • Yorgus Manila, UT
    April 21, 2014 2:50 p.m.

    teachermom6 wrote, "Personally, this is what our state wanted in education.....teacher accountability....and they will get it...at what cost? Many older teachers will retire and are doing so in droves, those left behind will be foolish to teach anything BUT the core and innovation and exciting (child-centric) lessons will be a thing of the past....Welcome to Common Core and Teacher Accountability!"

    You are mostly correct, but to blame any of this on the Common Core is misguided and misplaced. The testing would exist whether the Common Core had been adopted or not. Common Core is not the test. The testing would exist whether the Common Core had been adopted or not. The testing and accountability have been demanded, funded and implemented at the behest of your Utah legislators. Want different results? Cast a different vote.

  • Yorgus Manila, UT
    April 21, 2014 2:41 p.m.


    There is an on-screen calculator available throughout the testing. Whether or not a handheld calculator is allowed depends on the grade level.

    birder: the testing started earlier than usual because the writing component, this year and ONLY this year, is being manually graded. The state board of education asked that the writing component be administered early to allow extra time for the manual grading, so that the writing results and the results of the math, ELA and science components would all be available to teachers and administrators in a timely manner.

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    April 21, 2014 2:38 p.m.

    DIBELS testing needs a human being to administer it. There is no IOWA test anymore, and I can tell what students struggle with despite test scores. I am not for student testing for everything, because we test students to DEATH.
    Also your thinking is flawed if you believe that one test or a few tests will tell you how a child is doing in school. Tests do not measure ADHD, but a teacher can tell if a child struggles with it and how best to meet their needs. Tests also do not tell you if a child has autism, is emotionally challenged or just doesn't test well, but understands the material.
    I am a mother who went into teaching in my later years compared to some. Have you been in a classroom lately? Instead of being critical of teachers and their work, spend some time helping out your local school....you may be surprised to find that teachers do a lot more than you ever saw them do 30 years ago. (My mother-in-law taught for 46 years and has told me numerous times that the work we do now is a lot different than what she EVER did!)

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 21, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    To "teachermom6" then please justify your job. If I can use computer based testing to tell me how well and in what areas my child is learning, what purpose do you have? What expertise do you have compared to the teachers 30 years ago that knew my child and could tell me where the struggles were?

    If,as you say "There is more to teaching than presenting material", then prove it. The SAGE testing will tell me what my child has learned. The DIBLES test lets me know what their reading level is. The Iowa test lets me know how they stand on a variety of subjects. So, since the computer testing tells me how well they understand the material, what do you do besides present material?

    Your job description is shorter than it was 30 years ago, and now teachers expect to be paid more?

  • Eliot Genola, UT
    April 21, 2014 1:27 p.m.

    If you want local control of schools then you must have local funding. Currently schools are funded from three different sources: local property taxes, the state income tax and federal appropriations. As long as the majority of funding for schools comes from the state income tax and the federal treasury you will not have local control of schools. Kick and scream all you want but the legislature and Congress will never give you complete control of your public schools when they are the ones providing the funding.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    April 21, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    The main problems with education today have very little to do with what can be handed on a test. Children are no longer taught personal accountability. Children are no longer taught that they must miss out on things if they do not achieve. We give everyone a trophy...everyone's a winner!.. As a society we are far too caught up in how our children perform athletically than morally or academically; if we care at all. Some kids go home to endless hours of screen time with parents who do the same.
    Many children grow up without living in the same household as one of their parents. Some children grow up with strings of girlfriends/boyfriends without ever seeing parents commit to each other. Each one of these scenarios play out in our schools each day as teacher's try to teach students how to learn, and we wonder why students do so poorly in school. As always it is the teacher's fault after all...

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    April 21, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    @Redshirt- The problem is not about pay....heck, I love working with kids that's why I am a teacher. I was told at the University that if you teach starting at 35K a year you would need to expect another salary to make it, fine I still agreed to this salary as do many of my colleagues who work at Wal-Mart, drive trucks, or work as bartenders to make ends meet on this meager salary for a 4 year degree. The problem is this... as a teacher you are expected to work with 28 or more students who may or may not work in school, who may or may not come to school hungry, who may have parental issues with divorced parents, and or have issues with ADHD. As a school system, we have used computer programs in the past that have taught students on their level....research has shown that these do not work. Why?... because kids need the human interaction to learn. There is more to teaching than "presenting material". Good teachers know that students need to see body language from their teacher to convey certain messages both intrinsic and extrinsic.

  • TilleySue South Weber, UT
    April 21, 2014 12:55 p.m.

    Thoughtfully, and definitely not blindly, I opted my kids out, and I would love to be the mother of the children who took it to 95%.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    April 21, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    @Steven Jarvis

    I wished my kids had the charter school option; the ones that I do have in public school are essentially read a script. And I have a hard time believing the script they're being read can actually educate 20+ diverse personalities and levels of achievement.

    Our kids are shoved together based on age, not achievement.

    SAGE isn't doing much to convince me otherwise, yet.

  • Life Long Learner Orem, UT
    April 21, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    I am an M.Ed. and a nationally awarded teacher. I chose to opt my children out of SAGE Testing, and I encourage all parents to do the same. Utah is going down this road simply for the money involved, and while I am NOT against standards or testing (these are critical tools for teaching), I am against the influences of Big Money (which is creating all the "standards" and the curriculum materials to accompany them) and Big Government (which desperately wants to usurp all power over local content) which are destroying public education. The merits of SAGE and its content are IRRELEVANT. The point is the loss of local control and the tremendous potential for abuse in the future that they represent. Let's focus on getting schools back in local control (parents and teachers). All these assessments will do little or nothing to address the real problems with the (obsolete) system, or help the US improve its dismal education outcomes compared to the rest of the world. Get informed, Utah--it's not too late to act!

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    April 21, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    @Mom of 8

    Common Core dictates the BARE MINIMUM proficiency expected to be attained by each grade level. SAGE measures whether the student meets that proficiency. Curriculum is chosen by the LEA (the individual school or district) and to a greater extent the individual teacher in the classroom.

    In our school system (Charter) we level students based on ability and need. SAGE will be only one component of how those decisions are made. We have always looked at the data and adjusted instruction accordingly. Hopefully SAGE will improve on that.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    April 21, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    I'm confused: SAGE testing is supposed to indicate where children are, so that planning can be done for next year to get them to the "correct levels", right?

    But the Common Core Curriculum essentially dictates what will be taught in each class and each grade, right?

    So does it really matter where children place in SAGE, since it's not really going to effect how they are taught next year?

    And if SAGE doesn't dictate curriculum, then what exactly is it for?

    THAT'S the real question that concerns many of us parents.

  • souptwins Lindon, UT
    April 21, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    Eliot is exactly correct. The same parent groups who scream for increased accountability are those being critical of SAGE testing. How can you have it both ways? Testing is all about having quantified accountability. If schools don't test, it would mean parent trust schools completely to teach what needs taught with no way of verifying if it happened.

    If you want to micromanage every aspect of your child's education, perhaps home-schooling is the right fit for you. You can not maintain the integrity of a test while allowing every parent to pre approve every question. If a test measures properly what a child ought to learn in any particular grade, why would you not want the teacher to "teach to the test"? Is that the curriculum? Then they better be teaching it and the test should measure it. There seem to be a lot of unrecognized contradictions and wanting to have it both ways. It's hard to see how schools can possible meet all these conflicting demands.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 21, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    I think I may make some teachers really mad here, but here goes.

    What is the point of paying teachers more? They say that they do more than ever, yet they lack the ability to determine which kids understand the material and which ones don't.

    30 years ago kids were tested 1 every other year using standardized tests. Now they are tested multiple times per year on standardized tests. As has already been pointed out, our kids have about 5 or 6 different tests that they take 3 times per year. If each test averages 1 day to take, that means that you will lose nearly 10% of teaching days. Isn't it more important to instruct? 30 years ago the teachers knew the students and knew their abilities and would talk with the other teachers in the school to pass along what they saw.

    Testing like this is a waste of time and money.

    With all of the computer testing being done, why not create adaptive computer programs that will present kids with the material at a level that they test at? You wouldn't need teachers anymore, just IT and babysitters to keep the kids focused on their computers.

  • Eliot Genola, UT
    April 21, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Why do we spend so much time testing students?


    The state of Utah, specifically the legislature, wants quantitative measurements of how much students know and have learned to provide accountability for the amount of money they appropriate to schools. The Federal government is also a very interested party, requiring extensive testing under No Child Left Behind to provide accountability for the federal funds allocated to the states. In the recent past testing has been designed for the purpose of providing accountability rather than as a tool to improve learning. For the most part, the calls for testing and accountability have come most forcefully from conservative political factions rather than liberal. Will SAGE reverse that trend? Will it be an effective tool for improving learning along with providing an accurate assessment of what students know and can do? Will we be patient enough to let the system develop and to make adjustments to it as we learn and gain experience? Or will it be jettisoned as soon as the slightest political wind is felt?

  • optic yellow Ogden, UT
    April 21, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    When an are of concern is discovered in a child's education... what happens next? We push them to the next grade level, the next math class, etc. Especially since math classes are now grouped based on age and not proficiency.

    We don't dare hold them back, "it will hurt them emotionally". So we dump ill prepared students on the next teacher. The result is a high school math class with students ready to be challenged by pre-calculus concepts sitting next to students who struggle with adding fractions.

    Then we say the teacher needs to engage each student in learning. Good luck teachers! I do not envy the task of having 8 different levels of engagement exercises planned for each lesson.

    PS Didn't we try and hold students accountable for learning a few years ago with the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test (UBSCT) I thought students weren't supposed to graduate from high school unless they could demonstrate proficiency at a basic level.... does anyone know what happened with that system?

  • Snoopy7 West Jordan, Utah
    April 21, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    As a teacher, I'm not teaching anymore...I'm testing. The talents that I have to teach are being wasted now-a-days. I spend so much of my teaching time giving and correcting tests of all kinds. I'm so sick of giving tests. What ever happened to teachers working with kids and knowing their kids well enough to know their levels? Sage is a joke. Dibbles testing is joke, Fountas and Pinell testing is a joke. They do have their place if you start calling teachers....testers instead. Just let us teach!

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    April 21, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    @azamatbagatov- Testing WILL start quarterly with one test being administered in the fall, one in the winter and one in spring. This is what ALL educators have been told in our district. Teachers are being measured on student performance through growth. If a low student shows a lot of growth throughout the year you will be rated higher at the end of the year vs. a teacher who has a student that has made little progress throughout the year. So as a teacher you do not really want incredibly high students...they will make measurably little progress, vs. middle to middle/low students. Really low students will be a crapshoot.
    Personally, this is what our state wanted in education.....teacher accountability....and they will get it...at what cost? Many older teachers will retire and are doing so in droves, those left behind will be foolish to teach anything BUT the core and innovation and exciting (child-centric) lessons will be a thing of the past....Welcome to Common Core and Teacher Accountability!

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    April 21, 2014 10:43 a.m.


    I am well aware of the need for the US to seek employees abroad for STEM related fields. I also am aware of the higher percentage of Doctorates given in the US go to foreign students attending Universities in the United States. Our kids are not prepared to compete with other nations and I have seen first hand why traveling abroad.

    In the US students are not held to the levels of accountability that higher performing nations are. In many Asian countries students attend 210 days and nine to ten hours of schooling each day. In the wealthier Asian countries parents supplement their child's education with tutors and after school academic programs. They also take a lot more tests with accountability to the student attached than US students do.

    Common Core is a monumental step to increasing the rigor in mathematics, reading and written language and SAGE appears to be the best state based assessment that Utah has ever developed. However both may not withstand the attacks. I recall how quickly the State removed the competency tests required for High School graduation when students were unable to pass the eighth grade material.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    April 21, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    Before his death, Dr. Benjamin Spock stated he regretting the advice he had given a generation on raising children. How many generations will be lost to this latest education "fad" which has all the earmarks of a mad scientist's bizarre experiment? Our children's education is too important to be sacrificed to unproven experimentation and change for the sake of change.
    I'm a big proponent of data-driven decision-making; the data should be derived from a scientific design in a controlled environment before being implemented across an entire school system.

    Once again, give parents the liberty to choose their children's school and that freedom will push the successful schools forward and challenge underperforming schools to adapt or perish.

  • azamatbagatov Lehi, UT
    April 21, 2014 10:05 a.m.


    Where have you seen that this testing will happen quarterly? And please don't cite some scare website to back your claim.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 21, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    @Steven S Jarvis:

    Problem is, we spend more time measuring than teaching, and it consumes much of the funding.

    If testing, assessments, and accountability improved education, we'd have an educated nation which wouldn't depend on eighty two thousand highly skilled workers from other countries per year.

    As it is, half our students going to college, are not prepared to do the work.

  • grizzly125 sl, UT
    April 21, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    The sage test was not well written. No teacher or is allowed to know what is on the test! The districts don't have any idea what they were giving! Some of the questions were ridiculous, for example, Choose between a dog and a horse for one that has the most impacted human history. Bark, Whinny. What? They don't teach that in Honors anything. So if the kids don't do good on the test, which would be hard for them to do, because of the wackiness of it, and the test is a direct reflection of the teacher's ability to teach the impact of dogs and horses on humankind. when the bad scores come back, the teachers can be fired or have their performance reviews effected and the state can save money. Then,the Acuity test that the teacher from GSD got fired for not giving. Another test that no one knows what is on the test and are not allowed to know. So the teacher can't teach OUR children what the state/district thinks they should know. There is some sort of disconnect here.

  • first2third Elmo, UT
    April 21, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    My only complaint, and why we opted our son out, is in the math testing. Our Son has a 504 plan and IEP that allowed for calculator use all school year. Now, at the end, with SAGE testing, there are no calculators allowed. This is comparable to hauling hay with a bale wagon for three crops and then having to haul by hand on the fourth crop because the state doesn't want that one done that way... Make learning and testing consistent and I am for it.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    April 21, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    This article seems to highlight the opinions of individuals who may or may not be informed about the goals and practices entailed in this test. There needs to be a Deseret News article on the SAGE test, from the people who actually know what they are talking about, not the controversy.

  • Brown Honeyvale, CA
    April 21, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    One very important issue was left out of this article.

    Those against SAGE fear the owner of the company who created the test. They fear he will use it to brainwash their children with liberal ideas and collect data to track them throughout their lives.

    They complain they want to see the questions before the test is given (how would that preserve the integrity of the exam?), they want to see the results the teacher sees (can you say privacy issues...I don't want you seeing my child's results). Talk about a conspiracy theory! When one parent told me this I about fell off my chair!

    The Against Common Core folks are trying to invalidate the testing by opting their children out. (The test needs 95% participation to be valid). Most of them are not even researching it themselves, they're are just doing what their leaders are telling them to do.

    You opt your child out it hurts my chid by lowering the rating of my school. If you want change, take your argument to your Local and State School Boards and stop negatively affecting the education of my child with your political issues!

  • concretebo Sandy, UT
    April 21, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    Really do not see the cost of testing to be an issue, these education people are very well paid.
    I do not know what kind of time these tests take. I highly doubt if there were excess funds that teachers would see a pay increase, although they should have one. From what I understood out of this article sounded like educators are trying to fine tune the current system so it is more efficient and effective.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    April 21, 2014 8:22 a.m.


    Without testing there is no objective way of quantifying learning. You can't sit in a job interview and say "yeah, I know I only got 55% right on my math final, but I really am good at math...trust me."

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    April 21, 2014 8:17 a.m.


    The third and most obvious flaw was the statement that teacher love SAGE. It would be more accurate to say tolerate.

    I will say that the one test I have so far seen was by far WAY better than past assessments. It looks fun to take, has nice bells and whistles. I hear the Science section will be a blast.

  • K.Call Moab, UT
    April 21, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    Has this author done any research in to how much it costs districts to implement the testing? Districts cannot, and do not, write their own adaptive tests ~ they are too expensive ~ so they purchase pre-written tests that even teachers cannot view and parents cannot see, neither before nor after their student(s) have participated in the testing. One principal I spoke with said she would 'like to see what's on the tests' and 'if you find out what's on them, let me know'. The only way for a parent or teacher or administrator to find out the content of these tests is to petition the state office of education and hope they grant to a parent the blessing to see what is included on these tests. Sad.

  • jabb_r LAYTON, UT
    April 21, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    Picture what my high school children will be doing soon - taking end of year math tests that are not multiple choice on a computer. This means typing in all formulas, etc - that would be very difficult when all year you do work on paper.

    Another gripe not related specifically is that one high school math teacher even has her regular tests for her students before their homework is graded. They turn in all homework at the time of the test - some kids flat out don't know what they don't know at the time they're tested - but then they move on to the next unit & never learn the previous material fully. ...2 more years until kids are out of public school & counting down every minute.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    April 21, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    I took tests, what are the differences between these tests and the SAT ACT tests I took as a young man?
    If you don't take a test, and perform well under pressure, then how will you prove yourself with no experience to draw from?

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    April 21, 2014 7:39 a.m.


    Testing DEMONSTRATES learning. While there are more methods available to demonstrate learning, testing is probably the most accurate measurement.


    There are several flaws in the article most that the author would be unaware of. First, SAGE test results are not expected to be any earlier than previous CRT results as per instruction from the state. The results may start speeding up next year, but since this is the first year and the test itself will be evaluated for accuracy don't expect data quickly. The results will probably come before Christmas this year and before school is out the following year.

    The second flaw is that the tests all the tests are computer adaptive. From what has been reported this is only partially true. Having observed one test for language arts I can say that that test was not adaptive and I am okay with that. What I really hope is that the math section is completely adaptive by next year.

  • dyc Vernal, UT
    April 21, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    My school has been doing computer adaptive testing for years. We've done it four times per year. The adaptive testing has been valuable to help us understand individual student strengths and weaknesses. The drawback to the previous testing was it was multiple choice, so students could guess instead of having to show their work. With SAGE, the state has solved that issue. Students must now show their work. Interestingly, the students are telling us they prefer this type of testing over the old form of adaptive testing. Kudos to the teachers for helping children focus on mastery and showing their work.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    April 21, 2014 6:59 a.m.

    I Think that if you are going to test to assess a teacher and their effectiveness then you should also use these tests to assess individual students and deciding whether or not they advance in grade level. Teachers right now are not using these tests to he determine student grades at the end of their grading periods so little Johnny could come on test day and decide that it doesn't count so why should I care? When that happens the teacher is judged as an ineffective teacher.

  • Coyoteghost Saint George, UT
    April 21, 2014 6:44 a.m.

    For the reporter - A common mistake which testing might remedy has to do with the use of compliment and complement. I can't compliment the reporter on this issue. "In reality, she said, each compliments the other."

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 21, 2014 12:19 a.m.

    Testing, assessments, and accountability has been around for decades:

    It hasn't improved education. Period!

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2014 10:38 p.m.

    I'd like to know where this article gets their information that educators are thrilled with the SAGE testing. I don't know any teachers in my building who love it to pieces. The prep for testing plus the testing is taking up way too much time now, and it will get worse next year. We have to start the end of year testing so early that there is not time to finish teaching the state core before it is tested. I'm not a fan. They still have not addressed the problem of kids who miss a lot of school or kids who have just moved in and haven't had the material. All of this will still work against the teacher whose pay will be partly determined by the test outcomes.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    April 20, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    If you think it is bad this year, wait until next year. This year they are just piloting the SAGE testing at the end of the school year. Next year it will be a quarterly test. You think your kids are being tested too much now? Wait until you see what is coming!

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 20, 2014 10:09 p.m.

    Does testing equal learning?