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Utah bill would tie standardized test results to student grades

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah teachers say many of their students are not taking their end-of-year standardized tests very seriously. A new bill would address that.

Some Utah teachers say their students draw on the tests or fill out random answers as a joke.

“We’ve actually had accounts related to me, that there are students out there who have sabotaged the test for a teacher they don’t like,” said Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City.

“I’m a father of four, my kids are good students, and I have heard them say, ‘Oh we have those darn tests today, but my teacher says they don’t count anyway,’” he added.

Winder’s bill, HB 118, would tie a strong test score to a better grade in the class. Opponents say it would punish families who opt their kids out of tests. That number keeps going up, but schools, Winder says, need a way to measure how kids are doing.

Schools say the data is helpful because it shows if students are learning the material and how teachers are doing. Standardized test results are also tied to a school’s overall letter grade.