While kids don’t typically like tests (or broccoli or cleaning their rooms), I think the right assessments can be an important educational and diagnostic tool to aid learning. And what do their parents think?
It turns out that among American parents, there are important differences in viewpoints along socioeconomic lines. A recent article from “Real Clear Education” highlighted findings from the 2016 report titled “Make Assessment Work for All Students: Multiple Measures Matter.” This is based on a survey conducted by the Northwest Evaluation Association and Gallup about perceptions of K-12 assessments.
In the survey, twice as many parents from households with income under $60,000 believe that standardized testing improves learning as parents from households with income between $60,000 and $89,999 and those with income between $90,000 and $119,999. But why the differences of opinion?
The researchers from NWEA and Gallup believe that lower-income parents are more likely to think standardized tests improve learning because of the opportunity for accountability. Testing can be used to identify achievement gaps that need to be addressed, leading to the expansion of educational opportunities for students who would benefit from them the most.
Interestingly, the same report shows that teachers, principals and superintendents are far more likely than parents and students to worry about overtesting and think that students spend too much time on standardized testing.
This is an interesting report, as perceptions often contribute to the success or failure of any wide-scale undertaking.
One thing that is clear is that standardized testing is a careful balancing act for all stakeholders involved. Who should be tested, on what subjects, using what methods, how frequently, etc? These are questions that need to be asked again and again as the world changes.
Fair and balanced is what it’s all about. That’s why translation is a critical component in measuring competence for those who haven’t yet achieved English-language mastery.