Revisiting Assessment Policy
Forget about Standardized Testing This Fall, Parents Say
- By Dian Schaffhauser
overwhelmingly opposed going ahead with standardized testing this
spring, according to a survey done by a parent advocates group. In a
survey of more than 1,200 respondents, the assessment nays beat the
yays by a margin of two to one. The polling also found that parents
"overwhelmingly" opposed testing being used at all in ways
that penalize students (81%) or teachers (73%). Two-thirds of parents
also reported that any testing done this year should be shortened and
used mainly to measure the impact of remote school on student
The random sampling
was done by ParentsTogether
Action, a national advocacy that focuses on family
issues, among its 2.5 million members. The polling was run between
Mar. 10 and Mar. 16, 2021 through Facebook Messenger.
The survey also
found that in families where students participated in a mix of
in-person and remote learning, two-thirds of parents (62%) believed
their kids' mental health had gotten worse since the pandemic began.
That's 12 percentage points higher than families whose students
attended only in-person (50%) and 16 points higher for families whose
students were studying only remotely (46%).
In fact, free mental
health counseling was the number one area where parents would like
districts to spend their federal relief funding; 77% prioritized this
area of possible spending, followed closely by spending on families
who were "struggling" (74%) and adding teachers and staff
to support learning (72%).
Nearly two in five
"blended" families (38%) stated that the remote learning
portion of their students' schooling was going poorly, compared to a
quarter (26%) of "all-remote" parents.
In spite of
discontent with remote learning, the majority of parents (78%) said
they're worried or "very" worried about their students'
health risks in attending fully in-person learning. But most
(two-thirds) said they were likely to send their students back to
school for on-campus instruction. Just 13% said they expected to keep
their children home.
The survey found
that parents continued to have "largely favorable views" of
educators, as well as their unions. Seven in 10 said they felt
"favorable" towards teachers, with 47% expressing the same
about teachers' unions and 11% saying they felt unfavorable.
"A year into
the pandemic, parents of school-aged kids are still struggling with
how to keep their families safe, and that means different things for
different families," said Justin Ruben, co-director of
ParentsTogether, in a statement. "But they largely agree that
schools should be fully open in the fall — and that the focus right
now should be on supporting kids' mental health and learning, not on
conducting standardized tests."
A more complete
rundown of results is openly available on
the ParentsTogether website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.