Report: 90 Percent of Parents Say Their Student Performs at Grade Level, Only 1 in 3 Does

Report: 90 Percent of Parents Say Their Student Performs at Grade Level, Only 1 in 3 Does

A new survey has found that nine out of 10 parents of students in grades K-8 say their child is performing at or above grade level, but only one in three students are actually performing at that level, according to the 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).

It was the second year in a row that the survey, "Parents 2017: Unleashing their Power and Potential," found that nearly all parents who responded said their children were performing at or above grade level. About two-thirds, 66 percent, said they thought their child's academic performance is above average; 77 percent told researchers they rate their children's schools highly; and 80 percent highly rated the job teachers are doing.

Though 75 percent of respondents said they expect their child to get a two- or four-year degree, about 40 percent said that they were not highly confident that their children would be prepared to succeed in college. Once they were informed about NAEP scores, more than a quarter of parents interviewed said that their child is likely behind grade level.

Other results from the survey, which polled 1,400 parents of children in public school, include:

  • 60 percent of respondents said it was more important that their child be happy and not overly stressed by school than to do well academically. Hispanic parents were more likely to stress academics, though, with 44 percent saying they were more important and 55 percent saying happiness is more important;
  • "Education is not a major factor when parents think about their child's happiness today, but it comes into play when they think about their child's happiness and well-being as an adult," according to a news release about the survey;
  • Parents are most likely to place primary responsibility for the academic performance of their children on themselves or the students, with only 12 percent saying that the school bears primary responsibility and parents tending to shift that responsibility from themselves to the children as they enter middle school;
  • 39 percent of respondents told surveyors that their child had struggled academically and more than half of those parents said they are not highly confident they can support their child's learning; and
  • 66 percent of parents surveyed said they relied on report cards to tell them how their children are doing rather than annual standardized tests.

"As a mother of two teen boys, this disconnect is a heartbreaking wake-up call," said Bibb Hubbard, founder of Learning Heroes, which produced the survey, in a prepared statement. "Parents are all in when it comes to their children's happiness and success, owning the responsibility for how well their children perform in school. The data clearly show that most parents lack an accurate picture of their children's progress. We believe it's because so much of what parents receive about their child's progress is indecipherable — filled with edu-jargon, confusing terms and often lacking actionable information they need to fulfill their commitment to support their children's learning and growth."

More information is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at

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