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Do Park City Students Spend Too Much Time on Standardized Tests?

We at the Park Rag continue to be impressed by how well spoken and thoughtful our local students are. We received the post below last week from a student at Treasure Mountain Junior High about the level and amount of standardized tests that our students endure. We hope you’ll give it a read.

We reached out to the school district for comment on this post last week but have not received any comment.

March 23, 2016

To Whom It May Concern,

This is Hailey Lebold. When I’m not at Treasure Mountain Junior High School in the eighth grade, I am at work at Papa Murphy’s or at Ecker Hill Middle School at swim practice. I just looked at the testing schedule for the end of the year and would like to share my concerns.

Including today, there are 54 days left of the school year. Then, I counted up the days that we are taking standardized tests and that number is 23 days. 23 out of 54 means that about 42% of our days left in school are spent taking standardized tests. I have many concerns about the large percentage. With that many days spent testing, it brings students stress and anxiety levels up. It tires students faster and if we try to do homework at night, we as students do not have enough energy to stay up. Thus meaning homework does not get done, bringing down grades, creating annoyed parents and students who are worried.

I would like to pose the question, why do we need to take both Galileo and SAGE tests? If we take the Galileo tests throughout April, why do we need to take the SAGE tests starting a week after we finish Galileo? If our teachers need to teach us more before SAGE, then we are taking the Galileo test without a clue about how to answer specific questions. Furthermore, if we take SAGE to help us as students learn more, why do we not receive the results until near the end of summer? That would be about two and a half months that we go without any information. By then is the information accurate anymore? We could have learned more over the summer which would make the data invalid.

Lastly, these tests are taken at the end of the year. At the end of the year, students already have end of year finals. Ninth graders take the AP Geography test. Quite a few students opt out of the SAGE test. Why do we give the option to do that if it is a standardized test? If the district is requiring students to take the test, but also letting students opt out, what is the point of requiring the test?

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that you will take these concerns under careful consideration.

Sincerely,

Hailey Lebold

Note: For all posts by students we contact them to make sure they want their name published. We also ask him or her to confirm that his or her parents are aware and have approved of this being posted online.

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Erma Gerd

At the Late Start Information Meeting on March 24, Ember Conley referred to a letter she received from a student regarding the abundance of standardized testing. She said she forwarded the letter to the state. I believe it’s this letter that she was referring to.

Many students do opt out of the SAGE test. Many of those students are high performing HS students who are taking a lot of AP tests and don’t want to worry about the SAGE test. When high performing students aren’t participating in standardized tests, it stands to reason that the overall performance of the school appears lower. This is another way in which the standardized test results aren’t completely valid and do not reflect the level of education our school district provides.


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