Most parents of public school children support the use of standardized tests to hold students and schools accountable, according to an opinion poll released today by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan research group.
The nationwide survey of 800 parents was the second in recent weeks to indicate large majorities stand behind the adoption of high-stakes testing to enforce state academic standards, despite sporadic protests in Virginia and elsewhere that have been characterized as evidence of a broad public backlash. A Business Roundtable survey with similar findings was released last month.
"Reports of the 'death' of the standards movement have been wildly exaggerated," said Deborah Wadsworth, president of Public Agenda, which is based in New York.
The new survey found that 87 percent of the parents interviewed support the standards movement, with 53 percent giving it an unqualified endorsement and 34 percent favoring some adjustments. Only 2 percent supported a return to the days before states began implementing testing in the early 1990s.
Just 11 percent of parents said their own schools require too many standardized tests and 18 percent said "real learning is neglected" because of the time spent on test preparation.
There were some qualms about testing, however. Most parents opposed schools determining student advancement to the next grade solely on the basis of a single test, an opinion shared by many testing experts.