Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.

Poll Shows Public Concern Over Emphasis on Standardized Tests

By Lynn Olson — July 12, 2000 2 min read

A recent poll suggests that the public may be uneasy with the growing emphasis on using standardized tests to make important educational decisions about students.

The bipartisan poll, released last month by the American Association of School Administrators, found that a majority of voters responding disagreed with the idea that a single test can accurately measure students’ progress for a school year. Nearly half did not agree that students should repeat a grade if they failed a state exam.

Four questions related to testing were asked as part of a broader voter survey conducted in May by Republican pollster Frank Luntz and Democratic strategist Jennifer Lazlo-Mizrahi.

For More Information

View results from the AASA poll of voters.

The survey of 800 registered voters has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

“Right now, high-stakes testing is harming the educational process” for many children, Paul D. Houston, the executive director of the AASA, said at a press conference held in Washington to release the results. Although the administrators’ group strongly supports high academic standards and accountability, he said, “educating students for success in today’s society cannot be measured by one test alone.”

The results are somewhat similar to those from a recent poll of parents. About half said they supported the use of standardized tests as a factor in determining whether students would graduate. ( “Teaching & Learning: Parent Opinion,” June 21, 2000.)

Out of Step?

The AASA poll found:

  • Sixty-three percent of voters did not agree that a student’s progress for one school year can be accurately summarized by a single standardized test.
  • Forty-nine percent opposed keeping students back a grade if they fail to achieve a passing score on a statewide test.
  • While 45 percent of voters agreed that standardized-test scores accurately reflect what children know about the subject, 48 percent disagreed.
  • Voters were also split about whether the standardized tests they had taken as students accurately reflected what they knew about the subjects being tested.

“This poll shows that politicians and corporate executives who keep pushing for more and more standardized tests are out of step with U.S. voters,” said Monty Neill, the executive director of FairTest, a Cambridge, Mass.- critic of such tests.

But Edward B. Rust Jr., the chairman of the education task force of the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based group of leading corporations, said that while student success can’t be measured by test scores alone, “many believe, as I do, that the skills required to reach ‘basic’ or ‘proficient’ levels on these new state tests are a prerequisite for more advanced learning.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2000 edition of Education Week as Poll Shows Public Concern Over Emphasis on Standardized Tests


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD

Read Next

Assessment Opinion To Keep Primary Students Learning and Growing, Start With Data
A district’s dedication to gathering and analyzing data provides stability in uncertain times.
Janice Pavelonis
5 min read
Image shows a speech bubble divided into 4 overlapping, connecting parts.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty and Laura Baker/Education Week
Assessment Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment 2021
In this Spotlight, dive into best assessment practices
and more.
Assessment Opinion Testing Students This Spring Would Be a Mistake
High-stakes tests would tell us very little we can't know in other ways, writes a longtime assessment researcher.
Lorrie A. Shepard
5 min read
Illustration of students in virus environment facing wave of test sheets.
Collage by Vanessa Solis/Education Week (Images: iStock/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty)
Assessment Opinion An Open Letter to the NAEP Governing Board
The change under consideration would make the reading test less accurate not more, writes E.D. Hirsch Jr.
E.D. Hirsch Jr.
3 min read
16Hirsch SOC
AscentXmedia/iStock/Getty Images Plus