Poll Results: There’s Too Much Emphasis on Standardized Tests

In 2016, the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, whose leaders are among the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for high-stakes testing, commissioned MassINC to survey business executives. MassINC reported:

“Employers continue to think there is too much emphasis on standardized tests.

“Business leaders want more accountability for teachers, but they are deeply concerned about one of the main tools used to evaluate teachers and students: standardized tests. More than three-fifths (62 percent) think there is too much emphasis put on preparing students for standardized tests.

“This is virtually identical to the 2013 survey, and it is consistent with other surveys of voters and parents [MassINC] has conducted since.”

Parents agree. A 2017 Phi Delta Kappan (PDK) poll found that parents believe students acquiring interpersonal skills, and participating in tech/engineering, advanced, art and music courses were far more important measures than how students perform on standardized tests. A 2022 Populace, Inc. national survey of parents and other adults found that “respondents believe students should advance once they have demonstrated mastery of a subject [No. 7 out of 57 questions] rather than when they pass an arbitrary test. In fact, evaluating student success based on standardized tests was ranked as a bottom 10 priority (No. 49). And in PDK’s 2019 poll, 94 percent of teachers and 77 percent of parents said student progress over time, as measured by report cards, is a better measure of school quality than the percent of students who pass a standardized test. Studies have come to the same conclusion; high school GPA is a stronger predictor of college success than standardized test scores.