Forty Years of Public Opinion
on Standardized Testing(c)
Richard P. Phelps
(c)
2003, by Richard P. Phelps
The vagaries of
opinion poll data
for use in research
Polling is episodic
Polls are often implemented quickly while a topi...
Possible indicators
that a poll is of
low quality
Poll does not publish its response or cooperation rate
Data collection l...
Respondent groups
in public opinion
polls and research
surveys
Number of studies, 1965-2002
Respondent group
Teachers,
adm...
6
5
6
9
7
3
7
7
8
1
8
5
8
9
9
3
9
7
0
1
0
200
Items on standardized testing in n
Year
Pollsters pay more
attention to testing when
there's a national testing
proposal under
consideration
●
George H. W. Bush's...
What should tests measure?
Should they be required?
Favor or oppose requiring standardized
national tests to measure...
●
...
How should
tests be used?
Do you think tests should be used to...
(PDK '97)
●
...identify areas in which student need help...
Steadfast in support
of graduation exams
Should students be required to pass tests to graduate? +90 pp
(MOR '85)
●
...if y...
Summary of public
opinion on high-
stakes
requirements
Among Education Providers (i.e. teachers, administrators, etc.)
Mul...
Summary of public
opinion on high-
stakes
requirements
Among Education Consumers (i.e., public, parents, students, etc.)
M...
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Forty years of polls on standardized tests in education

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Forty years of polls on standardized tests in education

  1. 1. Forty Years of Public Opinion on Standardized Testing(c) Richard P. Phelps (c) 2003, by Richard P. Phelps
  2. 2. The vagaries of opinion poll data for use in research Polling is episodic Polls are often implemented quickly while a topic is in the news, leaving little time to pretest and edit items Pollsters are often unfamiliar with a topic and, as a result, can pose questions based on naïve or inaccurate assumptions There are two types of sampling error and pollsters often tell you about only one of them
  3. 3. Possible indicators that a poll is of low quality Poll does not publish its response or cooperation rate Data collection lasted only a few days (better polls will use at least a week) The pollsters can often be seen as pundits on television news talk shows
  4. 4. Respondent groups in public opinion polls and research surveys Number of studies, 1965-2002 Respondent group Teachers, administrators Public, parents Public opinion polls 13 (5%) 232 (95%) Research studies (evaluations, surveys) 56 (73%) 21 (27%)
  5. 5. 6 5 6 9 7 3 7 7 8 1 8 5 8 9 9 3 9 7 0 1 0 200 Items on standardized testing in n Year
  6. 6. Pollsters pay more attention to testing when there's a national testing proposal under consideration ● George H. W. Bush's national testing plan (1990-92) ● Bill Clinton's “Voluntary National Tests” (1997-99) ● George W. Bush's “No Child Left Behind” testing requirements (2000-02) ➔ (6 polls) +52 pp avg ➔ (6 polls) +48 pp avg ➔ (14 polls) +57 pp avg.
  7. 7. What should tests measure? Should they be required? Favor or oppose requiring standardized national tests to measure... ● ...the academic achievement of students +60 pp ● ...knowledge in 5 core subjects +80 pp ● ...problem-solving skills +74 pp ● ...ability to write a clear composition +75 pp Favor or oppose making these tests optional for districts? +37 pp i.e., +23 pp prefer required over optional tests
  8. 8. How should tests be used? Do you think tests should be used to... (PDK '97) ● ...identify areas in which student need help +76 pp ● ...to rank the local public schools +39 pp ● ...to determine if a student advances to the next grade +28 pp ● ...to determine the level of funding school receives -18 pp ● ...to determine how much teachers should be paid -14 pp
  9. 9. Steadfast in support of graduation exams Should students be required to pass tests to graduate? +90 pp (MOR '85) ● ...if your child failed the first time? +86 pp ● ...if your child did not receive a diploma? +68 pp ● ...if 20% of low income students did not receive a diploma? +55 pp
  10. 10. Summary of public opinion on high- stakes requirements Among Education Providers (i.e. teachers, administrators, etc.) Multiple polls and surveys, 1978-2003 Support for... Number of Polls Mean pp dif ...high school graduation test requirements 26 34.3 ...grade-level promotion test requirements 5 38.4
  11. 11. Summary of public opinion on high- stakes requirements Among Education Consumers (i.e., public, parents, students, etc.) Multiple polls and surveys, 1958-2003 Support for... Number of Polls Mean pp dif ...high school graduation test requirements 33 47.3 ...grade-level promotion test requirements 23 45.3

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