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Proficiency Plummets: SAGE Test Results Are In

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The numbers are in for Utah’s SAGE test, the new statewide exam used to measure student proficiency under the Common Core initiative, and the results show that Utah kids are not proficient.

According to the results, just 41.7 percent of students are proficient in language arts, 38.7 percent in mathematics and 43.7 percent in science. These numbers are all down from previous testing years, but officials say that is to be expected.

“Previous standards were: ‘Did you understand what you should have understood in third grade language arts this year, yes or no?’ Now, it is: ‘Are you on track to be college and career ready,’” said Mark Peterson from the Utah Office of Education.

He said the state adopted these more rigorous standards after concluding that too many students are headed to college in remedial math and English classes.

Scores varied widely across and within districts. The numbers also show Utah’s minority children falling behind. African American and American Indian students failed to break 20 percent proficiency in math, language or science.

Peterson said this is due to economic disparities. He said kids from wealthier homes have access to books, computers and other life experiences that give them a step up in school.

“There’s no question that there is an achievement gap; it’s not a new problem, it existed under the old standards… It just becomes more exaggerated when you’ve increased the standards,” Peterson said.

Peterson said now that the state has a realistic understanding of the number of kids who are career and college ready, they can move forward with improvements.

To view how schools in your area scored on the SAGE test, visit the Utah State Office of Education website