It never fails. Each spring, with the arrival of the first crocus blooms to emerge from the cool, rain-soaked ground, comes end-of-year testing season in Utah’s schools. But this season, students will be taking a new set of Utah State Board of Education-required assessments to demonstrate how much they have learned over the course of the year. The exam for students in grades 3-8 is called RISE, an acronym that stands for Readiness, Improvement, Success and Empowerment. Ninth- through 10th-grade students will participate in a high school assessment called Utah Aspire Plus, which is designed to prepare them for the ACT, the most commonly used college-entrance exam. 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, testing tips, links to sample test questions, and more. “Testing has always been integral to education. Assessments inform instruction by helping teachers know if educational goals are being met,” says CSD’s Research and Assessment Director Dr. 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 reaching expected learning targets and doing well compared to his or her peers?” Read more at canyonsdistrict.org.