National Opinion Poll on Testing and Test-Based Teacher Accountability

In an article titled “Testing Doesn’t Measure up for Americans,” just released by Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International in partnership with the flagship professional polling organization Gallup, you can read the results of the annual public poll that PDK/Gallup conduct every year regarding the public’s thoughts on America’s public education system. Pollers polled a nationally representative samples of 3,499 Americans over 18 via the web and 1,001 Americans over 18 via phone. As most pertinent to our purposes here, here are the key findings with which you all might be most interested.

“Americans agree that there is too much testing in schools, but few parents report that their children are complaining about excessive testing. Most Americans believe parents should have the right to opt out of standardized testing, but few said they
would exercise that option themselves.”

  • 55% of Americans and 61% of public school parents oppose including student
    scores on standardized tests as part of teacher evaluations.
  • To measure the effectiveness of the public schools, using tests came in last as a measure of effectiveness with just 14% of public school parents valuing test scores as very important for such measurements.
  • 64% of Americans and a similar proportion of public school parents said there is too much emphasis on standardized testing in the public schools in their community with just 7% believing there’s not enough.
  • When asked what ideas were most important for improving public schools
    in their community from a list of five options, testing ranked last in importance
    once again.
  • Americans split on whether parents should be allowed to excuse their child from taking one or more standardized tests: 41% said yes, 44% said no.
  • A majority of public school parents said they would not excuse their own child from taking a standardized test; nearly one-third said they would excuse their own child.
  • Lack of financial support is the biggest problem facing American schools, according to respondents to the PDK/Gallup poll. That’s been a consistent message from the public for the past 10 years. Having sufficient money to spend would improve the quality of the public schools, according to a sizeable portion of American adults.

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Citation: Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International/Gallup. (2015). The 47the Annual PDK/Gallup poll of the public’s attitudes toward the public schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 97(1). Retrieved from http://pdkpoll2015.pdkintl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/pdkpoll47_2015.pdf

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