Canyons School District students continue to outperform their Utah peers on most of the SAGE tests, in some areas by as many as 12 percentage points.

“The data reflect the quality of our teachers and the hard work of our students, as well as the District’s investment in research-based instructional practices,” said CSD’s Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson.

State SAGE results for the 2017-2018 school year are available for all school districts on the Utah State Board of Education website. 

Elementary Schools (grades 3-5) 
In elementary schools, Canyons is well above the state average in all subject areas and grades. The District made gains in 4 of 8 elementary tests. The following shows the percentage of elementary students who tested proficient in 2017-2018:

English: CSD (58 percent), state (46 percent)
Math: CSD (62 percent), state (51 percent)
Science: CSD (59 percent), state (50 percent)

Middle Schools (grades 6-8)
In middle schools, Canyons is well above the state average in 5 of 6 tested areas.   Middle school science results will not be released until November 2018.  New middle school science content standards require new proficiency cut-scores to be developed by Utah educators.  The following shows the percentage of middle school students who tested proficient in 2017-2018:

English: CSD (55 percent), state (46 percent) 
Math: CSD (50 percent), state (43 percent)
Science: To be released in November

High Schools
In 2018 SAGE was administered for the last time. Canyons District's high school scores for the 2017-2018 school year can’t reliably be compared to the state average, because for the first time, CSD’s 11th graders were not required to take the test. They took the ACT college entrance exam, instead.

This is the last year for SAGE tests as the state transitions to a new testing vendor. Utah will debut RISE tests for students in grades 3-8 while students in grades 9 and 10 will take the Utah Aspire Plus exam in the 2018-19 school year. High school juniors will continue to take the ACT exam.
Your child’s SAGE test results are now available online.

Parents and guardians can access their children’s results via their private Skyward Family Access account, the same account used for annual online registration. The portal is a secure site that provides parents more immediate access to their child’s SAGE results once school lets out for the summer.

Some CSD schools may have also provided parents with paper copies of SAGE test results. 

SAGE exams are administered in late spring to all Utah students in grades 3-10, and to high school seniors enrolled in chemistry and physics courses.

SAGE test results are expressed in terms of proficiency. Proficiency means that a student has a strong understanding of challenging content in math, science and English language arts, and that the student is on track to be prepared for college and careers.  The SAGE proficiency levels are expressed in four levels: Highly Proficient; Proficient; Approaching Proficient; and Below Proficient. 

Your student’s performance also will be expressed in a scaled score, as assigned by the Utah State Office of Education. The scaled score will allow you to compare your student’s subject test results from year to year. It also will allow you to compare your student’s subject test results to school district and state averages.

On an individual level, it’s important to remember that SAGE results are among many student performance indicators, including class quizzes and tests, homework assignments, and projects.

Please note: There has been a delay in the receipt of middle school science SAGE scores due to changes in the science standards. State officials are expected to make science scores for grades 6,7, and 8 available in November.

To access Skyward:
  • Click here to access Canyons District’s Skyward portal
  • Click on the Family Access tab
  • Log in to Skyward Family Access with your username and password
  • Click on the SAGE Results tab
If you have questions about your child’s SAGE results, please call the District Office of Research and Assessment at 801-826-5090.  

Need help accessing Skyward? Please call 801-826-5544 for assistance, or Click here for Skyward Family Access login instructions.

To learn more about SAGE, please visit our informational web page.
In a few weeks, students throughout Utah will begin taking SAGE tests, those end-of-year exams that show how much students have learned over the course of the year. Why do schools test? What do the results mean, and why should students and parents care?

Answers to these questions and more can be found on a new Canyons District resources page. Anyone curious about the how’s and why’s of testing is encouraged to browse the site, which contains teacher testimonials, infographics, and step-by-step instructions for obtaining and interpreting your child’s test results.

“Testing has always been integral to education. Assessments inform instruction by helping teachers know if educational goals are being met,” explains CSD Research and Assessment Director Hal Sanderson. “They’re an indicator of what’s working in the classroom and what can be done differently. Testing also gives parents a measure of their child’s learning, which along with grades and other measures helps answer the question: Is my child on target and doing well compared to his or her peers?”   

But did you also know that a student’s performance on SAGE in middle school can predict how well he or she will do on the ACT college entrance exam in high school? SAGE, in other words, gives middle schoolers a glimpse at how they’ll do on a high-stakes test in a low-stakes environment when they still have time to go back and re-learn foundational concepts.

Another surprising fact: Very little of the school year is devoted to test-taking. A recent internal audit revealed that Canyons District students spend just 1.2 percent to 2.7 percent of instruction time taking state and district assessments. By comparison, at one sampled Canyons District elementary school, recess accounted for 4.5 percent of the year, 12 percent was devoted to lunch and math instruction occupied 27.3 percent of the year.



This year, the District has made adjustments to further reduce the testing burden on students. The writing exam will take half as long, which along with other changes, should enable us to complete the testing much more quickly, Sanderson says.

The computer adaptive assessments of today have, however, evolved beyond the “bubble” exams of your childhood. One helpful test-taking tip for parents to keep in mind is to remind children that if the test questions seem hard, that means they’re doing well. Just like the ACT college entrance exam, the SAGE test is computer adaptive, which means it adapts to the examinee’s abilities by proposing harder questions when a student gets something correct, and easier questions when the student gives a wrong answer.

As Mount Jordan Middle teacher Kory Crockett explains: “We all know that tests can be stressful. Tests can be hard. But it’s really these hard things in life that help us grow the most. And especially with these end-of-the year tests, they don’t just tell us how much we’ve grown, they tell us how much we’ve grown as a school.”

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Kids spend a lot of time in school, and parents understandably want that time to be spent learning, and not taking tests. But how much of the school year is actually devoted to test-taking?

With that question in mind, Canyons District’s Research and Assessment Director Hal Sanderson recently performed an audit that revealed students spend between 1.2 percent to 2.7 percent of instruction time taking state and district assessments. By comparison, at one of CSD's elementary schools, recess accounts for 4.5 percent of the year, 12 percent is devoted to lunch and math instruction occupies 27.3 percent of the year.

The audit sheds some light on subject of over-testing, and calls into question commonly-held concerns about excessive testing. But there are limitations to the survey. This audit applies only to Canyons School District. Though all Utah school districts participate in state year-end assessments, district-level tests vary in form and scope. The audit also doesn’t measure the amount of time teachers spend incrementally testing students’ knowledge every day in their classrooms.

Teachers are constantly assessing their students’ progress and learning – even if they’re just calling upon students to furnish an answer to a math problem, says Instructional Supports Director Amber Roderick-Landward. “When done well, testing doesn’t distract from instruction, it’s an integral part of instruction.”

The amount of time devoted to testing has increased over the past few years, but will decline this year due to changes in the SAGE writing exam, and the consolidation of some district tests. With these changes, testing time will fall back in line with 2015 levels.

The audit was featured by KSL Radio and the Deseret News.

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Five Reasons Why
Assessments Matter


Canyons School District believes assessments, when appropriately administered and used, provide parents, teachers and administrators with important information about how a child is progressing.

1. Taking tests is a part of life. Whether it’s gaining entrance to college or passing the driver’s license exam, people take tests throughout their life.

2. Formative tests throughout the year help teachers see what is working, or not working, for students. Based on testing data, teachers can make adjustments in their instruction, such as taking extra time with specific topics or finding new ways to explain the content.

3. Year-end summative assessments, such as the SAGE exam, measure whether a student is on the path to college- and career-readiness. SAGE, which is administered in grades 3-10, is a gauge of whether students are meeting educational standards. These tests can help determine course placement. They can also assist the District and local school in directing resources to groups of students who need more support and determine if improvement strategies are working.

4. Testing can motivate students. Year-end exams are not the only measure of a student’s performance, but as one measure, they can help students take charge of their learning. In fact, when middle school students do their best on SAGE, their scores can predict how well they'll do on the ACT college entrace exam in high school. We know this because historically, CSD's students SAGE scores have closely correlated with their ACT scores. SAGE exams, in other words, are a low-stakes opportunity to see how a student will do on a high-stakes exam in a low-stakes environment. 

5. Year-end testing helps schools direct resources. Test results help educators, parents, and policymakers direct limited resources toward preparing all students for the rigors of college and careers.
Canyons School District students continue to outperform their Utah peers on most of the SAGE tests, in some areas by as many as 13 percentage points.

It’s an encouraging trend, driven by improved scores on most elementary and middle school tests.

“We continue to reap the dividends of major initiatives undertaken over the years,” said CSD’s Research and Assessment Director Hal Sanderson, Ph.D. “The data reflect the quality and hard work of our teachers, as well as the District’s unwavering focus on research-based instructional practices and the high standards embraced by our Board of Education.”

State SAGE results for the 2016-2017 school year are available for all school districts on the Utah State Board of Education website. 

Elementary Schools (3-5) 
In elementary schools, Canyons is well above the state average in all subject areas. The following shows the percentage of elementary students who tested proficient in 2016-2017:

English: CSD (59 percent), state (46 percent)
Math: CSD (62 percent), state (51 percent)
Science: CSD (58 percent), state (49 percent)

Middle Schools (6-8)
In middle schools, Canyons is well above the state average in all subject areas. The following shows the percentage of middle school students who tested proficient in 2016-2017:

English: CSD (53 percent), state (44 percent)
Math: CSD (49 percent), state (44 percent)
Science: CSD (62 percent), state (50 percent)

High Schools
Canyons District's high school scores for the 2016-2017 school year can’t reliably be compared to the state average, because for the first time, CSD’s 11th graders were not required to take the test. They took the ACT college entrance exam, instead.

Utah students took the state-mandated Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) tests for the first time in spring 2014. The tests were designed to measure more challenging state standards in mathematics, English language arts, and science. The SAGE tests are one of many measurements of student achievement. Other test data also show rising student achievement in Canyons School District.

Sanderson credits a number of initiatives, including: moving sixth-graders from elementary school to middle school where they receive more classroom instruction in core subjects; an effort to move teachers out of their silos to work as teams to monitor student progress; extensive professional development (half of all CSD teachers have a master’s degree); and the implementation of daily brain booster classes in art, physical education and STEM give teachers time to collaborate and hone their lesson plans.

“An ambitious construction plan to upgrade and modernize our schools also likely has played a role,” Sanderson says. “Classrooms built in the sixties and seventies with two electrical outlets are not conducive to the computerized demands of 21st century learning.”
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