WASHINGTON – A new national survey of likely general election voters finds overwhelming opposition to closing local schools based primarily on the results of high-stakes, standardized test scores. Additionally, voters believe that all public schools, whether charter schools or traditional brick and mortar schools, should be held to the same accountability and closure standards. The nationwide survey was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates in November and analyzes voter attitudes about standardized testing and school closure.
“Republicans and Democrats are united in their agreement that public schools should not be closed based primarily on standardized test scores,” said Stuart Polk, vice-president at McLaughlin & Associates. “Voters don’t consider standardized tests the best method to measure school and student performance. They want school evaluation systems that focus more on individual student measurements instead of aggregated standardized test scores for the entire school.”
According to a November 18-21, 2016 McLaughlin & Associates poll:
- Overwhelmingly, 78% of voters oppose closing public schools based primarily on standardized test scores
- Just 16% of voters consider standardized test scores to be a good measure of school quality, while 14% consider it a good indicator of student success
- 73% of voters favor evaluation systems that measure how well a school helps individual students improve year to year, versus average standardized test scores
- By a nearly 3 to 1 ratio, voters favor evaluating schools using a dashboard-like system which uses multiple measurements to assess quality and performance versus a single A to F letter grade
- Only 3% think closing low performing schools is the most important education issue
- 91% believe a formal public hearing should be required before a school closes so parents can discuss the impact; 61% strongly agree
- 86% believe all public schools, whether charter or traditional brick and mortars, should be held to the same accountability and closure standards
- 86% believe students should not be forced to leave their school just because other students are under-performing
- 83% to 11%, voters prefer to keep struggling schools open to help them improve versus closing them
As the Trump administration considers education policy and state legislatures convene in January, this survey highlights for policy makers and elected officials the need for student-centered accountability systems – rather than over reliance on aggregated standardized test scores – to measure school and student success.
STATEMENT FROM TILLIE ELVRUM, PRESIDENT OF PUBLICSCHOOLOPTIONS.ORG:
“School accountability is very important, but it must be done in a way that focuses on individual students and less on school-wide average test scores. Simply looking at high-stakes, standardized test scores to determine school or student success isn’t reliable. We need policy makers and education leaders to develop better accountability measures that don’t punish students and erode parent choice by closing schools based solely on high-stakes, standardized tests.”
Poll Methodology: McLaughlin & Associates completed a national survey of 1,000 likely voters. The survey was conducted November 18-21, 2016 and has a margin of error of +/ 3.1% at a 95% confidence level.