To: Brad Last, Lowry Snow, LaVar Christensen, Kim Coleman, Bruce Cutler, Steve Eliason, Justin Fawson, Francis Gibson, Eric Hutchings, David Lifferth, Daniel McCay, Carol Moss, mnoel, Marie Poulson, Benjamin,
Subject: HB 164
Date: Tue Feb 16 17:05:04 MST 2016
Dear Members of the House Education Committee:
HB 164 has flaws that undermines the role of parents based on their understanding of a test being administered. Student competency and progress testing should be about the subject mastery and competence of subjects being taught and nothing else.
When a test explores behavioral attitudes or seeks personal data, the test is no longer testing subject competency and educational progress.
1. Line 81. HB 164 allows for end-of-year state tests to determine grade promotion despite inadequate proof that the tests being administered are intended for this use or are valid.
2. Lines 180-181 introduce the opportunities for students to be incentivised to take an assessment test, i.e % grade, etc.; with the caveat that if the student's parents opt their child out of a test they perceive to not test competency, then lines 192-194 may require an alternative assignment. Which will be worse in the mind of the student?
Parents become villains for not allowing their children to take an assessment test and sticking them with an alternative assignment. The issue at hand is not a % of a student's grade, rather it is the nature of an assessment test being administered.
ACTs, PSATs and SATs test subject competency, not behavior. These tests are not perfect but they are examples of acceptable nationally standardized tests.
3. Parents have the responsibility of their children's education, including the nature of tests being administered. Conditioning a parents right to opt students out of ALL summative, formative and interim software/testing packages purchased by the state—not just year-end SAGE testing--violates the privacy rights of parents as these tests mine for personal data.
Ben C. Ferry
Former State Representative
Utah House of Representatives
905 North 6800 West
Corinne, UT 84307