Question – With the switch of end of year assessment coming, I would like to know what Granite School District and other Utah School Districts are doing regarding keyboarding and basic computer skills. It seems like SAGE is going to not only test students’ academic achievement, but will also assess their ability to use technology (in this case, a computer) efficiently and effectively. I know that part of our core standards includes keyboarding and computer skills, but it seems to me we need access to more resources in order to produce technological competent students. Is Granite School District looking to acquire a keyboarding/basic computer skills specialist who can teach these skills? Will it be the responsibility of the school’s STS? Teachers? It seems somewhat unfair to me that our students should be tested via technological devices without appropriate training, and that teachers’ pay should be partially determined by these results. What are we really assessing?
Response – It is true that the new SAGE assessment requires technology skills beyond those previously required by CRT administration – drag and drop, select text, work with graphs, for example. We have encouraged our teachers to introduce their students to the SAGE practice tests and familiarize them with the skills required of the new assessment; students can practice at home, and parents can become familiar with the new assessments as well. In fact, most students are far more technology savvy than are the adults in our system, and it is incumbent on all of us to provide repeated opportunities to learn and demonstrate learning through the use of appropriate technology, even when we lack expertise. STSs do have responsibility for some instruction, but that is instruction and support for teachers in better integrating technology into routine classroom instruction. Lastly, teacher pay is NOT currently impacted by SAGE results, although we expect it will be in the future. The legislature has pushed back this requirement for merit pay again this last legislative session.