New PDK/Gallup poll shows increased skepticism over value of standardized tests

Aug 20, 2014 by

WASHINGTON—As students, parents, educators and community members continue to push back against the overuse and abuse of standardized testing in our public schools, the most recent PDK/Gallup poll reinforces that Americans have had enough of the nation’s obsession with testing. According to the results, parents are concerned about the amount of testing and an overwhelming majority of public school parents (68%) are skeptical that standardized tests help teachers know what their students are learning or what to teach.

“More and more Americans understand that over testing is taking a toll on our students and on what and how we teach,” said National Education Association President-elect Lily E. Garcia. “Students and teachers continue to lose more and more class time to testing and test preparation, and that time should be spent teaching and learning a rich, engaging curriculum. The serious consequences of these toxic tests will only snowball unless parents, educators and community members push back against lawmakers determined to tie high-stakes decisions to fill-in-the-bubble tests.”

As opposition to the overuse of standardized tests increases, so has opposition to connecting those tests to teacher evaluations. According to the poll, 61 percent say they oppose the use of standardized tests in teacher evaluations. “More and more parents and the public understand the flaws of these tests. And what’s even more absurd is that we’ve seen educators being evaluated on students and subjects they don’t even teach,” said Garcia. “Enough is enough.”

The poll also indicated that public support for Common Core State Standards is diminishing as the majority of Americans are learning of the standards from the media instead of their schools.

“It’s no surprise that many aren’t behind the Common Core as they are victims of targeted misinformation campaigns. Some on the far right have turned high standards for all students into a political football,” said Garcia. “Our students’ futures aren’t a game. These Standards are an opportunity for all students to have access to a great education, but are being overshadowed by a propaganda war on TV and poor implementation by too many states and districts on the ground. Educators need the resources, time and training needed to get it right for students.”

Other key findings of 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools:

  • 50% of Americans gave the schools in their communities either an A or B, with parents awarding local schools even higher marks. These grades have remained consistent over the last few years.
  • Two-thirds of Americans oppose public school vouchers.

Note: NEA representatives served on the PDK/Gallup advisory panel for this poll.

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