Families & the Community

Poll: Parents Believe Children Doing Better Academically Than Scores Show

By Sarah Tully — April 22, 2016 2 min read
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A new national poll shows a disconnect between how well parents think their children are performing academically in school and how students score on tests nationally.

Learning Heroes, an organization that helps parents navigate the school system, released Thursday a poll, called “Parents 2016: Hearts and Minds of Public School Parents in an Uncertain World,” to determine parents’ concerns about their children’s education. More than 1,300 parents of children in kindergarten through 8th grade participated in the survey in January.

About 90 percent of parents reported that they think their children are performing at or above grade level in reading and math. But results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, were far lower. For example, about 36 percent of 4th graders scored at or proficient in reading and 40 percent scored at or above proficient in math in 2015. (Find out what NAEP is all about in this Education Week primer.)

“We felt like that disparity was pretty shocking,” said Bibb Hubbard, founder and president of Learning Heroes. “Parents really don’t have the true picture of where their child is.”

Other key findings include:

  • About three-fourths of parents believe it is important that their children get a college education. That includes 90 percent of Hispanic parents and 83 percent of African-American parents.
  • About 38 percent of all participating parents worry that their children won’t be prepared for college.
  • Paying for education was ranked as a top concern of parents overall. More than half—53 percent—of parents are concerned about their ability to afford college.
  • About 63 percent of parents say they communicate with their children’s teacher at least once or twice a month.
  • Along with the poll, Learning Heroes put together a Readiness Roadmap to help parents find answers and solutions to their concerns.

The poll was produced in conjunction with Learning Heroes’ partners, including Common Sense Media, GreatSchools, National Council of La Raza, National Parent Teacher Association, National Urban League, and Univision.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation gave financial support for the poll. (Education Week’s coverage of trends in K-12 innovation and efforts to put these new ideas and approaches into practice in schools, districts, and classrooms is supported in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York at www.carnegie.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.)

See what parents reported in another poll: Black, Latino Parents Say Expectations for Poor Children Too Low in Public Schools

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A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.