Parents could get peek at state tests

2014-02-12T00:25:00Z 2014-02-12T14:59:33Z Parents could get peek at state testsBilly Hesterman - Daily Herald Daily Herald
February 12, 2014 12:25 am  • 

SALT LAKE CITY -- The House Education Committee has greenlighted legislation that looks to allow parents to view the end of school year state test for Utah's students.

On Tuesday, the committee voted 10-5 to pass the legislation, H.B. 81, but did so with some reservations about the potential that additional eyeballs viewing the tests may compromise the test's integrity.

Kennedy argued all he was attempting to do was give parents a larger role to play in their children's education.

Kennedy argued that currently only a select few within the state are allowed to view the test. He said allowing additional parental review the test questions would bring a balance between parental rights and the integrity of the test process.

The proposal, however, has given heartburn to Utah's education leaders. Martell Menlove, the state superintendent, said there were concerns because there was already a process in place that allowed 15 parents within the state to review the tests. He said the tests were also reviewed by teachers and administrators. By the end of the process, Menlove said 200 individuals typically have viewed a test before it is ever administered to students.

Menlove also expressed concerns that additional views of the test may compromise the examination which is now tied to teacher job performance evaluations.

Judy Park, associate state superintendent, testified to the committee that other states do not allow public access to its end of year tests and the states were surprised to hear that Utah allows even 15 parents review the questions. She said that the legislation was not needed.

"I'm very comfortable with the current process," Park said. "I think our current process is an excellent process that has a good blend of opening up for parent review but maintaining the integrity of the process."

Jared Carman, a member of the state's instructional materials commission, said he supported the legislation. Carman said the bill was about a balance of power between the Utah office of education and parents of the students.

The bill now moves forward to be considered by the full body of the House of Representatives.

billy-hesterman
-- Billy Hesterman covers the Utah State Legislature and local politics for the Daily Herald. You can connect with Billy by email at bhesterman@heraldextra.com or by

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