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SALT LAKE CITY — A resolution to consider ways to reduce the amount of testing Utah students face cleared another legislative hurdle Wednesday.

HCR7 asks state education leaders to conduct a study of Utah's current testing methods to look for areas where testing could be reduced.

The resolution's sponsor, Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, said the initiative is backed by concerns from numerous constituents and educators who say students are having to spend more time preparing for tests and less time learning new material.

Some worry that testing has become a high-stakes approach to evaluating schools and teachers in Utah, with less emphasis on improving instruction and student outcomes. Excessive testing also limits technology as a learning tool when tests are too frequent, Poulson said.

"When I was growing up, my family were small farmers and cattlemen, and I know just from that experience in my other life that if you spend all of your time weighing and measuring, and not feeding, it causes problems," Poulson said.

The resolution is meant to bring attention to the issue and to facilitate collaboration between educators, parents and others in finding solutions, Poulson said. It calls for the Utah State Board of Education to report its findings to the Education Interim Committee in September.

The resolution passed the House in a nearly unanimous vote just days after lawmakers called on the state School Board to suspend and replace SAGE, Utah's annual student assessment currently in its second year of operation. Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said the exam places an "onerous burden" on students and teachers.

The Utah State Board of Education is expected to consider the request on Thursday.

Rep. Brad King, D-Price, who spoke in support of HCR7, said excessive high-stakes testing can present challenges, but so can changing testing systems too frequently.

"The only thing worse than overtesting is changing the test that we rely on too often," King said. "It is just not the right way to go."

The resolution will now be considered by the Senate. Email: Twitter: MorganEJacobsen

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