SAGE test results reveal local students’ college readiness
The results of the state’s controversial new end-of-year testing are out, and they show that slightly more than 50 percent of students in the Park City School District are proficient in language arts, math and science.
According to the results of the new testing — called SAGE — which were released to the public Monday, 57 percent of Park City students are proficient in language arts, while 52 percent and 55 percent are proficient in math and science, respectively. Statewide, 42 percent of students were proficient in language arts, 39 percent were proficient in math and 44 percent were proficient in science.
While those numbers may look low at first glance, Park City School District Superintendent Ember Conley said it’s important to remember that the new testing — whose language arts and math portions are more rigorous than previous testing systems — represents a dramatic shift. Rather than finding out if students have mastered content in those subjects, the SAGE test’s proficiency levels measure how prepared students are for college and careers.
"I think what we have to remember is when you go back through the history of why we’ve changed, it’s all about college and career readiness," Conley said, adding that she was pleased with the district’s results. " You’re going to see a lot less remediation in college."
Last spring was the first time students took the SAGE tests. Rather than using the fill-in-the-bubble format of traditional tests, SAGE was administered on computers and is designed to be adaptive, depending on whether students answer questions correctly. Interim State Superintendent Joel Coleman said in a press release that the SAGE testing is a more accurate barometer of how students are performing, but the fact the results are lower throughout the state than in previous years is no cause for alarm.
"There will be those who will look at these scores and compare them to last year’s results," he said in the release. "They aren’t comparable. This is a new era. The Utah State Board of Education increased the rigor and expectations in math and language arts, and the new computer-adaptive tests more precisely measure student performance than did the old fill-in-the-bubble tests."
Conley said that one of the largest benefits of the new testing system — other than the increased rigor — is that it will allow districts to better evaluate individual students, and even send detailed progress reports to parents. Additionally, it uses the same user-friendly format as the district’s benchmark testing, Galileo.
"Here’s what’s exciting," she said. "We’re able to use the data and drill it down by kid and really see strengths and weaknesses."
Park City’s scores were among the highest of public districts in the state. Its top-performing school was Jeremy Ranch Elementary, which scored well above district proficiency averages in all three subjects: 65 percent in language arts, 64 percent in math and 65 percent in science.
South Summit School District also performed above state averages, scoring 56 percent proficiency in language arts, with 44 percent and 51 percent in math and science, respectively. North Summit School District was roughly in line with the state. Its students showed 42 percent proficiency in language arts, with 40 percent and 45 percent in math and science.
Complete results of the testing, which include school and grade breakdowns, can be found at schools.utah.gov.
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