High Stakes? We Laugh at High Stakes

Despite the tall tales told by some about parents opting their children out of standardized tests en masse and folks marching by the millions against “high-stakes tests,” it appears that the average American parent is just fine with the amount of summative tests given to their sons and daughters.

According to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, we all seem to be OK with those high-stakes tests and the frequency with which they are offered.  According to the survey:
  • 61% of parents think their children “take an appropriate number of tests,” compared to 26% who think there are too many
  • 72% want to make it easier to fire teachers who aren’t performing (with 56% saying classroom observation should be part of teacher evals)
  • 75% believe standardized tests are a solid measure of student abilities, with 69% saying it is a good measure of schools’ quality
  • 93% say standardized tests should be used to identify where students need extra help
And interestingly, for all of our hand-wringing over Common Core State Standards, more than half of parents say they have heard little or nothing about CCSS.  When told about what CCSS was, half said it would improve things, 27% said it would have no effect, and only 11% said it would make things worse.
Such findings definitely don’t align with the tales being spun about the state of public education and our growing resistance to testing and CCSS, for instance.  But then feeling fine about the current state of assessment just doesn’t make for a good story line or dozens of angry posters to a blog.
On Wednesday, PDK and Gallup will release their annual survey on public attitudes toward public education.  Let’s see if they match up, or if we are telling AP one thing and PDK another.
UPDATE: This poll was actually sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, which now has the whole survey available up on its website.  

One thought on “High Stakes? We Laugh at High Stakes

  1. Most parents believe what the schools tell them to believe, and are fooled by the thought that standards somehow translate into a better educational outcome. The NEA is doing a great job at this. We’re now even at the point where most parents think a teacher with a magical certification is more qualified to teach their own children than they are, even in the younger grades.You and I both know it doesn’t matter what the standards are in terms of learning. Every state has had “standards” for about forever and we still see people like Rachel Jeantel emerge from these public schools.Oh my gosh, I have a homeschooled child who is beginning kindergarten and she can read most cursive, and can answer a simple question in English without that head-bobbing ‘tude. I don’t know what these tests have done to kids today. When I was a student, we didn’t have standardized tests, but we WERE taught deportment and diction.Most city schools just stink, let’s face it, and are built to warehouse the children of the lower classes. Suburban schools are at least moderately better, but that doesn’t say much. The tests simply reinforce to the soccer moms that their schools are superior (Compared to what? Yeah.) and it makes them feel good to know their schools are doing so “well.”

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