~Utah Aspire Plus Testing~
March 28-May 14, 2019
At Tooele High School, we recognize that parental support is absolutely critical to our collective success during the Utah Aspire Plus (UA+) testing window. Positive talk around the home about the purpose of UA+ testing can help to alleviate any anxiety or pressure that your student(s) may feel. We encourage students to take their time and apply the strategies that they have been taught to evaluate each question to the best of their abilities in attempting to find the correct answers. As a staff, we have tried to stress the importance of “best effort,” instead of emphasizing “perfect scores.”
Other things that lie within the parent’s circle of influence which they can control to help ensure that students achieve their potential on the UA+ testing include getting students to bed early and making sure that they get a good night’s sleep, as well as feeding them a healthy breakfast before sending them off to school. These are all examples of ways that parents can support their students in school during UA+ testing time.
Both parents and students need to be aware that some significant changes have been implemented for this year. The state of Utah has contracted with a new standardized testing vendor for our end-of-year state testing, which is supposed to provide a hybrid test consisting of the old SAGE questions in combination with some new pre-ACT prep questions.
But the rules have also changed regarding the time limits allotted for testing, as follows:
These non-negotiable time limits obviously pose some serious challenges to our 5’x5’ schedule, especially when you consider that our classes only run for 70:00” each. The state no longer allows us to pause a student’s test to finish at a later date. The new testing format is unforgiving; once you start the test, you only have the allotted amount of time to finish.
It therefore becomes critical for our Freshmen and Sophomore parents and students to plan around the battery of tests, because if they start and then get pulled out before completing the mandatory 85% minimum, that will count against our school as a zero in our end-of-year accountability report with the state of Utah, regardless of circumstance.
That’s why we are asking for everyone’s help this year to get ALL our students tested. The truth is that some of our best and brightest students have consciously opted-out of the SAGE testing in past years for a lot of different reasons; and while we recognize that everyone has the right to do so, we are hopeful that we can get everyone to the testing table this year. Any support we can get from home will be greatly appreciated.
Utah Aspire Plus Testing will be done exclusively on computers for all four subjects, during a seven-week window beginning Thursday, March 28 and ending Tuesday, May 14, according to the following (approximate) schedule:
[Please contact the front office and/or your student’s teacher(s) for specific dates and times for testing in her/his respective classroom for ELA, Science, Reading, and Math]
Finally, because we are mandated to have at least 95% participation on ALL UA+ Testing, we ask that you please try not to schedule anything during this important time of year that would require your student(s) to miss school, be late for school, and/or be pulled out of school during scheduled UA+ Testing times, as we strive to maintain a consistent and productive testing environment for ALL students. We appreciate your support throughout the year and we enjoy working with your children. Thank you, in advance, for your help!
Jeffrey D. Hamm, Principal
Tooele High School
[P.S.--Your student's final grades for third-quarter will be mailed home Tuesday, April 2 attached to a hard copy of this letter. Please review this report card with your student--including accessing the fuller, more detailed report on the SIS (Aspire) grading system--and then contact your child's teacher(s) if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding their grades. We would also ask you to review your student's attendance periodically --and consistently--with them so that there are not any surprises at the end of each quarter (or year) with "UA's" and/or any other truancy issues.]