DAR File No. 39838

This rule was published in the November 1, 2015, issue (Vol. 2015, No. 21) of the Utah State Bulletin.

Education, Administration

Rule R277-404

Requirements for Assessments of Student Achievement

Notice of Proposed Rule


DAR File No.: 39838
Filed: 10/15/2015 03:09:22 PM


Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

This rule is amended to provide opt out provisions required by S.B. 204, from the 2015 General Session and provide technical and conforming changes.

Summary of the rule or change:

The amendments provide opt out provisions for a parent to exempt their child from a state required assessment without further consequence by a local education agency (LEA); provide requirements that an LEA, school, and educator cannot use a student's score on a state required assessment to determine the student's academic grade or if the student may advance to the next grade level; and provide technical and conforming changes throughout the rule.

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

  • Art. X, Sec. 3
  • Subsection 53A-15-1403(9)(b)
  • Sections 53A-1-603 through 53A-1-611
  • Subsection 53A-1-401(3)

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

The amendments to this rule provide for greater parental rights in decision-making regarding state required assessments which will likely not result in a cost or savings to the state.

local governments:

LEAs will follow the procedures provided in the amendments to this rule for excusing a student from taking a state required assessment. This will likely not result in a cost or savings to local government.

small businesses:

The amendments to this rule provide for greater parental rights in the public school system which will likely not affect small businesses and not result in a cost or savings to small businesses.

persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:

A parent will have greater control over their child's participation in state required assessments which will likely not result in a cost or savings to persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local government entities.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

There are likely no compliance costs for affected persons. LEAs will follow the procedures provided for in this amended rule.

Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:

To the best of my knowledge, there should be no fiscal impact on businesses resulting from the amendments to this rule.

Brad C. Smith, State Superintendent

The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:

250 E 500 S
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84111-3272

Direct questions regarding this rule to:

  • Angela Stallings at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7656, by FAX at 801-538-7768, or by Internet E-mail at angie.stallings@schools.utah.gov

Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:


This rule may become effective on:


Authorized by:

Angela Stallings, Associate Superintendent, Policy and Communication


R277. Education, Administration.

R277-404. Requirements for Assessments of Student Achievement.

R277-404-[2]1 . Authority and Purpose.

[A.](1) This rule is authorized by :

(a) Utah Constitution Article X, Section 3 , which vests general control and supervision of public education in the Board[,];

(b) Sections 53A-1-603 through 53A-1-611, which direct the Board to adopt rules for the maintenance and administration of U-PASS[,];

(c) Subsection 53A-15-1403(9)([6]b), which requires the Board to adopt rules to establish a statewide procedure for excusing a student from taking certain assessments[,]; and

(d) Subsection 53A-1-401(3) , which allows the Board to adopt rules in accordance with its responsibilities.

[B.](2) The purpose of this rule is to:

(a) provide consistent definitions; and

(b) [to ]assign responsibilities and procedures for a Board developed and directed comprehensive assessment system for all students, as required by state and federal law.


R277-404-[1]2 . Definitions.

[A. "Board" means the Utah State Board of Education.]

[B.](1) "Benchmark reading assessment" means an assessment:

(a) determined by the Board for a student[s] in grade 1 through 3; and

(b) administered to a student[s] at the beginning, midpoint, and end of year[;].

[C.](2)(a) "College readiness assessment" means an assessment adopted by the Board that includes a college admissions test that provides an assessment of language arts, mathematics, and science, that is most commonly used by local universities to assess student preparation for college.

(b) [The c]"College readiness assessment" may include :

(i) the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or [(]ASVAB[)]; and

(ii) a battery of assessments that is predictive of success in higher education.

(c) "College readiness assessment" includes the American College Testing exam[,] or [(]ACT[)].

[D. "Educator" means an individual licensed under Section 53A-6-104 and who meets the requirements of R277-501.]

[E.](3) "English Learner " or [(]"EL"[)] student" means a student who is learning in English as a second language.

[F.](4) "English language proficiency assessment" means an assessment :

(a) designated by the [USOE]Superintendent; and

(b) designed to measure the acquisition of the academic English language for an English Learner[s] student.

[G.](5) "Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 " or [(]"FERPA[)]," 20 U.S.C. 1232g, means a federal law designed to protect the privacy of students' education records.[The law is hereby incorporated by reference.]

[H. "Individualized Education Program (IEP)" means an individualized instructional and assessment plan for students who are eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004.

I. "LEA" means local education agency, including local school boards/ public school districts and schools, and charter schools.]

[J.](6) "National Assessment of Education Progress " or [(]"NAEP[)]" [is]means the national achievement assessment administered by the United States Department of Education to measure and track student academic progress.

[K.](7) "Online [W]writing [A]assessment" means a Board-designated online assessment to measure writing performance for a student[s] in grades 3 through 11.

[L.](8) "Pre-post" means an assessment administered at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year to determine individual student growth in academic proficiency [which]that has occurred during the school year.

[M.](9) "State [administered]required assessment" means a n [formative, interim, summative SAGE, Utah alternate assessment, benchmark reading assessment, EXPLORE, PLAN, or the ACT]assessment described in Subsection 53A-15-1403(9)(a).

[N.](10) "Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence " or [(]"SAGE[)]" means a[summative] computer adaptive assessment for:

(a) English language arts grades 3 through 11;

(b) mathematics:

(i) grades 3 through 8[,]; and

(ii) Secondary I, II, and III; and

(c) science:

(i) grades 4 through 8[,];

(ii) earth science[,];

(iii) biology[,];

(iv) physics; and

(v) chemistry.

[O.](11) "Section 504 accommodation plan" means a plan:

(a) required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973[, means a plan]; and

(b) designed to accommodate an individual who has been determined, as a result of an evaluation, to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

[P.](12) "Summative adaptive assessment[s]" means an assessment[s]:

(a) administered upon completion of instruction to assess a student's achievement[.];

(b) [The assessments are ]administered online under the direct supervision of a licensed educator[and are];

(c) designed to identify student achievement on the standards for the respective grade and course[.]; and

(d) [The assessments ]measure the full range of student ability by adapting to each student's responses, selecting more difficult questions when a student answers correctly and less difficult questions when a student answers incorrectly.

[Q. "USOE" means the Utah State Office of Education.]

[R.](13) "Utah alternate assessment" means:

(a) an assessment instrument designated by the [USOE]Superintendent for a student[s] in special education with a disabilit[ies]y so severe the[y]student [are]is not able to participate in the components of U-PASS even with an assessment accommodation[s] or modification[s.]; and

(b) [The Utah alternative assessment ]measures progress on the Utah core instructional goals and objectives in the student's [individual education program (]IEP[)].

[S.](14) "Utah eTranscript and Record Exchange " or [(]"UTREx[)]" means a system that allows :

(a) an LEA and USOE to electronically exchange an individual detailed student record[s to be exchanged electronically between public education LEAs and the USOE, and allows]; and

(b) electronic transcripts to be sent to any post-secondary institution, private or public, in-state or out-of-state, that participates in the e-transcript service.

[T.] "Utah Performance Assessment System for Students " or [(]"U-PASS[)]" means:

([1]a) a summative adaptive assessment[s] of a student[s] in grades 3 through 12 in basic skills courses;

([2]b) an online writing assessment in grades 3 through 11, as part of SAGE;

([3]c) a college readiness assessment[s]; and

([4]d) summative assessment of a student[s] in grade 3 to measure reading grade level using grade 3 SAGE English Language Arts.


R277-404-3. Board Responsibilities.

[A.](1) The Board 's [shall maintain a ]comprehensive assessment system for all students in grades K-12[. This assessment system shall] includes:

([1]a) a summative adaptive assessment[s] in:

(i) English language arts for grades 3 through 11;

(ii) mathematics for grades 3 through 8;

(iii) secondary math 1, 2, and 3;[and];

(iv) science for grades 4 through 8; and

(v) earth systems, biology, physics and chemistry;

([2]b) an [O]online [W]writing [A]assessment for grades 3 through 11;

([3]c) pre-post kindergarten assessment for a kindergarten student[s] as determined by the LEA;

([4]d) one benchmark reading assessment approved by the Board for students in grades 1 through 3 and administered to students at the beginning, midpoint and end of year;

([5]e) grade 3 end of year summative reading assessment using grade 3 SAGE English Language Arts;

([6]f) Utah's alternate assessment, for an eligible student[s] with a disabilit[ies]y;

([7]g) an English language proficiency [test]assessment;

([8]h) National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP);

([9]i) college readiness assessment[s] for:

(i) grade 11 and optional college; and

(ii) career readiness assessment[s] in grade 8 or 9 and 10, as determined by the LEA; and

([10]j) reporting by the [USOE]Superintendent of U-PASS results[to include:].

([a]2) The report required by Subsection (1)(j) shall include:

(a) student performance based on information that is disaggregated with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, English proficiency, eligibility for special education services, and free or reduced price school lunch status;

(b) security features to maintain the integrity of the system, including statewide uniform assessment dates, assessment administration protocols, and training; and

(c) summative adaptive assessment results disseminated by [USOE]the Superintendent to an LEA[s], parent[s], and other[s], as appropriate, consistent with FERPA.

[B.](3) The Board shall provide specific rules, administrative guidelines, timelines, procedures, and assessment ethics training and requirements for all required assessments.


R277-404-4. LEA Responsibilities.

[A.](1) An LEA[s] shall develop a comprehensive assessment system plan to include the assessments described in Subsection R277-404-3[A](1).

(2) Th[is]e plan shall, at a minimum, include:

([1]a) professional development for an educator[s] to fully implement the assessment system;

([2]b) training for an educator[s] and an appropriate paraprofessional[s] in the requirements of assessment administration ethics;[and]

([3]c) training for an educator[s] and an appropriate paraprofessional[s] to utilize assessment results effectively to inform instruction; and

([4]d) adequate oversight of test administration to ensure compliance with Section 53A-1-603[(1)] as follows:

([a]i) an LEA[s] or online provider[s] shall test all enrolled students unless a student[s have] has a written parental excuse under S ubsection 53A-15-1403(9);

([b]ii) a [S]student[s] participating in the Statewide Online Education Program [shall be]is assessed consistent with Section 53A-15-1210; and

([c]iii) a [T]third party vendor[s] or contractor[s] may not administer or supervise U-PASS[assessments].

[B.](3) An LEA[s] shall make all policies and procedures consistent with the law, Board rules for standardized assessment administration, and the USOE Testing Ethics Policy, approved by the Board August 8, 2014, incorporated by reference, and located at USOE, 250 East 500 South, Salt Lake City, or online at http://www.schools.utah.gov/assessment/Directors/Resources.aspx.

[C.](4) At least once each school year, an LEA[s] shall provide professional development for all educators, administrators, and standardized assessment administrators concerning guidelines and procedures for standardized assessment administration, including educator responsibility for assessment security and proper professional practices.

[D.](5) LEA assessment staff shall use the USOE Testing Ethics Policy in providing training for all assessment administrators[/]and proctors.

[E.](6) An LEA[s] may not release state assessment data publicly until authorized to do so by the [USOE]Superintendent.


R277-404-5. School Responsibilities.

(1) An LEA, school, or educator may not use a student's score on a state required assessment to determine:

(a) the student's academic grade, or a portion of the student's academic grade, for the appropriate course; or

(b) whether the student may advance to the next grade level.

[A.](2) An LEA[s/] and school[s] shall require an educator[s] and assessment administrator[s/] and proctor[s] to individually sign the Testing Ethics signature page provided by[the] USOE acknowledging or assuring that the educator administers assessments consistent with ethics and protocol requirements.

[B.](3) All educators and assessment administrators shall conduct assessment preparation, supervise assessment administration, provide assessment results , and complete error resolution.

[C.](4) All educators and assessment administrators[/]and proctors shall securely handle and return all protected assessment materials, where instructed, in strict accordance with the procedures and directions specified in assessment administration manuals, LEA rules and policies, Board rules, USOE Testing Ethics Policy, and state applications of federal requirements for funding.

[D.](5) A student's IEP, EL, or Section 504 accommodation plan team shall determine an individual student's participation in statewide assessments.


R277-404-6. Student and Parent Participation in Student Assessments in Public Schools; Parental Exclusion from Testing and Safe Harbor Provisions.

[A.](1)(a) Parents are primarily responsible for their children's education and have the constitutional right to determine which aspects of public education, including assessment systems, in which their children participate.

(b) Parents may further exercise their inherent rights to exempt their children from a state [administered]required assessment without further consequence by an LEA.

[B.](2) An LEA[s] shall administer state [administered]required assessments to all students unless:

([1]a) the Utah alternate assessment is approved for specific students consistent with federal law and as specified in a student's IEP; or

([2]b) students are excused by a parent or guardian under Section 53A-15-1403(9) and as provided in this rule.

[C.](3)(a) A parent may exercise the right to exempt their child from a state [administered]required assessment.

(b) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(c), [U]upon exercising the right to exempt a child from a state [administered]required assessment under this provision, an LEA may not impose an adverse consequence on a child as a result of the exercise of rights under this provision.

(c) If a parent exempts the parent's child from the basic civics test required in Sections 53A-13-109.5 and R277-700-8, the parent's child is not exempt from the graduation requirement in Subsection 53A-13-109.5(2), and may not graduate without successfully completing the requirements of Sections 53A-13-109.5 and R277-700-8.

(4)(a) In order to exercise the right to exempt a child from a state [administered]required assessment under this provision and insure the protections of this provision, a parent shall[annually complete the Board approved parent excuse form a minimum of one (1) day prior to the administration of the state administered assessment and provide the form to the responsible school.]:

(i) fill out:

(A) the Parental Exclusion from State Assessment Form provided on USOE's website; or

(B) an LEA specific form as described in Subsection (4)(b); and

(ii) submit the form:

(A) to the principal or LEA either by email, mail, or in person; and

(B) on an annual basis and at least one day prior to beginning of the assessment.

(b) An LEA may create an LEA specific form for a parent to fill out as described in Subsection (4)(a)(i)(B) if:

(i) the LEA includes a list of local LEA assessments that a parent may exempt the parent's student from as part of the LEA's specific form; and

(ii) the LEA's specific form includes all of the information described in the Parental Exclusion from State Assessment Form provided on USOE's website as described in Subsection (4)(a)(i)(A).

(5)(a) A teacher, principal, or other LEA administrator may contact a parent to verify that the parent submitted a parental exclusion form described in Subsection (4)(a)(i).

(b) An LEA may request, but may not require, a parent to meet with a teacher, principal, or other LEA administrator regarding the parent's request to exclude the parent's student from taking a state required assessment.

[D.](6) School grading, teacher evaluations, and student progress reports or grades may not be negatively impacted by students excused from taking a state [administered]required assessment.

[E.](7) Any assessment [not mandated by the Board as defined in R277-404-1M]that is not a state required assessment, the administration of [such]the assessments, and the consequence of taking or failing to take [such]the assessments [shall be]is governed by polic[ies]y [to be ]adopted by each LEA.

[F.](8) An LEA[s] shall provide a student's individual test results and scores to the student's parent or guardian upon request and consistent with the protection of student privacy.

[G.](9) An LEA may not reward a student for taking a state [administered]required assessment[as defined in R277-404-1M].


R277-404-7. Public Education Employee Compliance with Assessment Requirements, Protocols, and Security.

[A.](1) An [E]educator[s], test administrator[s/] or proctor[s], administrator[s], [and]or school employee[s] may not:

([1]a) provide a student[s] directly or indirectly with a specific question[s], answer[s], or the content of any specific item in a standardized assessment prior to assessment administration;

([2]b) download, copy, print, take a picture[s] of , or make any facsimile of protected assessment material prior to, during , or after assessment administration without express permission of the [USOE]Superintendent and an LEA administrator[s];

([3]c) change, alter, or amend any student online or paper response or any other standardized assessment material[s] at any time in[such] a way that alters the student's intended response;

([4]d) use any prior form of any standardized assessment, [(]including pilot assessment materials[)], that the Superintendent has not[been] released[by the USOE] in assessment preparation without express permission of[ the] USOE and an LEA administrator[s];

([5]e) violate any specific assessment administrative procedure specified in the assessment administration manual,[ or] violate any state or LEA standardized assessment policy or procedure, or violate any procedure specified in[ the] USOE Testing Ethics Policy;

([6]f) fail to administer a state required assessment;

([7]g) fail to administer a state required assessment within the designated assessment window;

([8]h) submit falsified data;

([9]i) allow a student[s] to copy, reproduce, or photograph an assessment item[s] or component[s]; or

([10]j) knowingly do anything that would affect the security, validity, or reliability of standardized assessment scores of any individual student, class, or school.

[B.](2) A school employee shall promptly report a[ll]n assessment violation[s] or irregularit[ies]y to a building administrator, an LEA superintendent or director, or [the ]USOE.

[C.](3) An [E]educator[s] who violate s th[ese]is rule[s] or an assessment protocol[s are] is subject to Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission or Board disciplinary action consistent with R277-515.

[D.](4) All assessment material[s], questions , and student responses for required assessments [shall be]is designated protected, consistent with Section 63G-2-305, until released by the [USOE]Superintendent.

[E.](5)(a) Each LEA shall ensure that all assessment content is secured so that only authorized personnel have access and that assessment materials are returned to USOE following testing, as required by the [USOE]Superintendent.

(b) An [I]individual educator[s] or school employee[s] may not retain or distribute test materials, in either paper or electronic form, for purposes inconsistent with ethical test administration or beyond the time period allowed for test administration.


R277-404-8. Time Periods for Assessment Administration.

[A.](1) An LEA educator[s] or trained employee[s] shall administer assessments required under R277-404-3 consistent with the following schedule:

([1]a) [A]all summative adaptive assessments, an online writing assessment , and a Utah alternative assessment for [(]elementary and secondary, English language arts, math, science[)], within the [USOE]Superintendent's annually designated assessment windows[.];

([2]b) [The ]English language proficiency assessment:

([a]i) [LEA educators or trained employees shall administer the assessment] annually to all English Learner students identified as Level 1 Entering, Level 2 Beginning, Level 3 Developing, Level 4 Expanding, or enrolled for the first time in the LEA at any time during the school year to show student progress; and

([b]ii) [LEA educators or trained employees shall ]submit [English language proficiency assessment ]materials to the [USOE-]Superintendent's identified scoring provider for scanning and scoring on a schedule defined by the [USOE.]Superintendent;

([3]c) [LEA educators or trained employees shall administer ]pre-post kindergarten assessment for a kindergarten student[s] as determined by the LEA during assessment windows determined by the LEA[.];

([4]d) [LEA educators or trained employees shall administer ]one benchmark reading assessment determined by the Board for grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3 students in the beginning, midpoint, and end of the school year[.]

([5]e) [LEA educators or trained employees shall administer ]grade 3 end of year summative reading assessment using grade 3 SAGE English Language Arts[.]; and

([6]f) [LEA educators or trained employees shall administer ]NAEP assessments determined and required annually by the United States Department of Education and administered to students as directed by United States Department of Education.

[B.](2) An LEA educator[s] or trained employee[s] shall complete all required assessment procedures prior to the end of the[USOE-defined] assessment window[(s)]defined by the Superintendent.

[C.](3)(a) An LEA[s] that ha[ve]s an alternative schedule[s] shall submit an annual testing plan to the [USOE]Superintendent by September 1 annually.

(b) The plan shall:

([1]i) set dates for summative adaptive assessment administration for courses taught face to face or online;

([2]ii) set dates to assess students at the point in the course where students have had approximately the same amount of instructional time as students on a traditional full year schedule; and

([3]iii) provide a course level assessment schedule to the [USOE]Superintendent before instruction begins for the course.


R277-404-9. Data Exchanges.

[A.](1) The USOE IT Section shall communicate regularly with an LEA[s] regarding the required format[s] for electronic submission of required data.

[B.](2) An LEA[s] shall update UTREx data using the processes and according to schedule[(s )] determined by the [USOE]Superintendent.

[C.](3) An LEA[s] shall ensure that any computer software for maintaining or submitting LEA data is compatible with data reporting requirements [as determined]established in Rule R277-484.

[D.](4) The [USOE]Superintendent shall provide direction[s] to a[ll]n LEA[s] detailing the data exchange requirements for each assessment.

[E.](5) [Each]An LEA shall verify that it has satisfied all the requirements of the [USOE-provided]Superintendent's directions[have been satisfied] described in this section.

[F.](6) Consistent with Utah law, the [USOE]Superintendent shall return assessment results from all required assessments to the school before the end of the school year.


KEY: assessment, student achievement

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [ June 23, ]2015

Notice of Continuation: September 13, 2013

Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: Art X, Sec 3; 53A-1-603 through 53A-1-611; 53A-1-401(3)


Additional Information

More information about a Notice of Proposed Rule is available online.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the Bulletin is the official version. The PDF version of this issue is available at https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/bull-pdf/2015/b20151101.pdf. The HTML edition of the Bulletin is a convenience copy. Any discrepancy between the PDF version and HTML version is resolved in favor of the PDF version.

Text to be deleted is struck through and surrounded by brackets ([example]). Text to be added is underlined (example).  Older browsers may not depict some or any of these attributes on the screen or when the document is printed.

For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Angela Stallings at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7656, by FAX at 801-538-7768, or by Internet E-mail at angie.stallings@schools.utah.gov.  For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the Division of Administrative Rules.