SAGE Testing

SAGE testing is a statewide system of assessments designed to measure student success and growth, and is one of the most important tests students take during the school year. Colt Roundup asked Mr. Averett, the Student Assessment Director at Granite School District, about SAGE to acquire more answers about what it is specifically, why we take it, and why it is so important.

SAGE stands for Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence. It is a summative end of the year test that assesses how the schools and districts are progressing. Mr. Averett told us that the test is unique to Utah and developed specifically for Utah students according to a rigorous and inclusive test development process. Students were once required to take the CRT’s, which has now been converted to SAGE. Mr. Averett told Colt Roundup, “The purpose of the conversion was because the Utah Legislature enacted the law requiring that these assessments be given with computer adaptive technology.”

SAGE does, however, tell the student, parents and educators how the student is measured against Utah’s college-ready standards.”

In the past, SAGE tests could be included in student grades as a participation score because it was a helpful educational practice. In 2016, the law was changed and prohibited inclusion of the test on student grades, due to much pressure from parents. Some Cottonwood students said they would rather it not be on their grades, and they like it better now. The individual scores on the test, now, are only accessible for teachers, but the average student scores are open to the public. These tests are graded by computer with about 20% of the writing tests pulled and hand scored to make sure the results are correctly calibrated.

It is possible to opt out of the test.  This can be done through the Parental Exclusion Form; it can be filled out online or on paper, and turned in to the school the student attends. You can opt out of the test because the data obtained in these assessments is utilized by teachers and administrators to plan instruction, review student progress towards learning targets, provide teacher feedback, inform potential course placement, provide important achievement data to students and parents, and allow for public reporting about school quality. Here is the link to the Parental Exclusion Form.

Some students worry that if they opt out of SAGE they will diminish their chance of getting into college compared to a student who has taken it. In reality, if a student does choose to opt out of the SAGE test, it will not affect how colleges look at them. SAGE does, however, tell the student, parents and educators how the student is measured against Utah’s college-ready standards. Colleges may not consider SAGE scores, but they do usually consider the ACT and SAT scores. These tests are taken your junior year in high school, and are the entrance exams you take for colleges to help make admission decisions.

The SAGE season is a stressful time of year for both students and teachers, but it is only there to gauge student development. This can be a difficult process, because quite an abundance of students may feel pressured to do well on these tests.  Overall, Colt Roundup learned that the SAGE assessment shouldn’t be stressed over.