Utah Senate Set To Vote on HB118   1 comment

Dear Senators,
Why is there a single “yea” vote for HB118?  I really want to know.
It can’t be about funding.  Zero federal dollars are on the line if HB118 passes, or not. This was clarified by Superintendent Dickson in a recent state school board meeting. You can see it at minute 17:00-20:00 here:
 
It can’t be about improving the academic experience of a child. Not a single child in our state is benefited by the test. The SAGE/RISE  is not the type of test that a child can learn from, or that a teacher can gain insight from– no one gets to see it.  Despite not benefiting kids, HB118 will raise the test to an extremely important status since taking the test may result in parties, prizes, and easy GRADES. Less class time will be spent on education that’s not in the narrow band of tested skills. Teachers won’t be teaching as much, because they will have to teach directly to the test. That cheats students. It creates a terrible temptation for students who care about their grades, to skip new learning  and substitute test-taking. I taught high school English for many years, and required students to write MLA-formatted research papers— following having read, researched, drafted, revised, and learned to create citations and works cited pages. How can a SAGE/RISE test replace that? Students are human beings– they are not going to choose to do rigorous classwork if they can easily get a high grade for just taking a test.
It can’t be about improving the mental health of a child. Countries that raise the stakes of testing see increased youth unwellness and suicide.  Doing poorly on the high stakes test, or fearing that one might do poorly, increases test anxiety and youth depression.  This understanding alone should make our senate unanimously vote NO on HB118.
It can’t be about an honest belief that this test is a fair measure.  Last year, this legislature passed HB201 which made illegal the use of the SAGE test for grading teachers, so why now, do some in the legislature believe the test should be used to grade children?? This especially makes no sense, considering the fact that SAGE test producer AIR explained, “When you’re using a test for accountabilityyou’re not really using it to measure the kid. You’re using it to measure the school, or the teacher, or the district.” VP of AIR, Jon Cohen. See min. 3:07 at https://vimeo.com/80927107
It can’t be about accountability.  Some proponents of the bill cite “accountability” as the reason they’re voting for it. Accountability for whom?  AIR said it’s not a valid measure for a student.  HB201 said it’s not a valid measure for a teacher. Yet HB118 seeks to use SAGE/RISE to measure a student and to pass out grades based on the test. The test isn’t accountable to Utahns. Students and teachers and parents don’t get to see what questions were missed; so it is of no benefit to those for whom education exists.
  PLEASE vote no on HB118.
   Sincerely,
   Christel Swasey
Daniel Thatcher <dthatcher@le.utah.gov>,
David Hinkins <dhinkins@le.utah.gov>,
Evan Vickers <evickers@le.utah.gov>,
Jerry Stevenson <jwstevenson@le.utah.gov>,
Karen Mayne <kmayne@le.utah.gov>,
Ralph Okerlund <rokerlund@le.utah.gov>,
“amillner@le.utah.gov” <amillner@le.utah.gov>,
“dipson@le.utah.gov” <dipson@le.utah.gov>,
“dkitchen@le.utah.gov” <dkitchen@le.utah.gov>,
“jiwamoto@le.utah.gov” <jiwamoto@le.utah.gov>,
“kriebe@le.utah.gov” <kriebe@le.utah.gov>,
“rwinterton@le.utah.gov” <rwinterton@le.utah.gov>,
“ssandall@le.utah.gov” <ssandall@le.utah.gov>

One response to “Utah Senate Set To Vote on HB118

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  1. Cristel–

    Isn’t HB 118 necessary to provide the overview of Utah’s competency-based education push? https://www.schools.utah.gov/curr/competencybased

    Shouldn’t the focus then be on what a shift to a competency-based approach really means? High-stakes testing puts the focus on content. These troubling assessments are putting the focus on the changes in the child and calling those changes ‘Learning’.

    Also remember that under this Competency based view Knowledge becomes “a mental representation that leads to predictable action”, regardless of whether the mental representaion is true, factual, or some kind of “as-if”, reimagining the future scenario.

    These are not tests in any traditional sense. They are monitoring to make sure the focus has shifted away from the transmission of knowledge to a change the child from the inside-out push. Jaust as in Katherine Prince’s IfTF New Foundations of Readiness Framework. Parents need to be aware of that shift and these assessments true function of monitoring the change the child shift.

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