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National Survey Finds Majority of Parents Support End-of-Year State Assessments With Modifications and Resources

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Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations

Over 60% of parents report being worried their child is behind and wanting more information

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Feb. 22, 2021)—National PTA today released the results of a national survey exploring parents’ views on end-of-year state assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll, which surveyed parents and guardians with children in grades K-12 in public schools, was conducted through Edge Research and in collaboration with Learning Heroes.

Key findings of the survey show:

  • 52% of parents favor end-of-year testing this spring to measure the impact of the pandemic on student learning.
  • 60% of parents are worried their child is behind and want more information on where their child is academically.
  • 62% of parents believe their child to be behind compared to a normal school year.
  • 49% of parents are worried their student will not be prepared for the next grade. 

“As underscored by the results of the survey, parents and educators alike should have meaningful data on student learning and progress. This is especially important to help our teachers tailor their instruction to students and address COVID-19 learning gaps; help identify the supports students need from their school, teachers and family; help parents and teachers work together to address learning loss and support students’ success; and help parents better support their children’s learning at home,” said Leslie Boggs, president of National PTA. “Statewide assessments are one of multiple measures—including benchmark tests, classroom-based tests, report card grades and teacher observations—that, when combined, help give a clearer picture of where children are academically and help equip parents to effectively advocate on behalf of their child’s learning.”

While the majority of parents favor administering end-of-year state assessments this year, there are some modifications parents would like to see this year to address the unusual circumstances. The majority of parents surveyed favor lowering the stakes for this year’s end-of-year state tests, with 67% of parents indicating they believe the results should not affect student grades nor promotion to the next grade level; 56% of parents indicating they believe the results should not be used to grade schools; and 51% of parents reporting they believe the results should not be used to evaluate teachers. The majority of parents surveyed (76%) also believe it is extremely or very important to include resources with the test results that they can use at home with their child to review concepts where their child may have struggled.

“Today’s release underscores parents' continued reliance upon statewide assessments to know how well their child is meeting grade level expectations. 60% of all parents support giving the state assessment this spring with lowered stakes to measure student learning. Learning Heroes research consistently shows that parents use statewide assessments as one of several measures they can use to get a more complete picture of their child's learning," said Cindi Williams, co-founder of Learning Heroes.

Additional findings of the survey reveal that 67% of parents feel they are more connected to their child’s day-to-day education than ever before. However, 43% of parents report feeling less confident than in previous years that they understand how well their child is doing academically. These findings are consistent with findings of surveys Learning Heroes has conducted over the past five years on parent mindsets. According to Learning Heroes’ surveys, 90% of parents believe their child to be at or above grade level. Only 38% of students are meeting grade level expectations, however, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

“So many students were already behind before the pandemic, and the pandemic has exacerbated educational inequities. Meaningful and timely data sharing is critical to student success. Data is a universal language that cuts across all cultures and communities,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We must ensure parents, teachers and school leaders have the best, most accurate information to support the profession of teaching and our children’s learning if we honestly want to address learning gaps, improve outcomes for our children and ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

National PTA remains firm in its belief that good assessments play a vital role in measuring student progress so parents and educators have the best information to support teaching and learning, address learning gaps, improve outcomes and ensure equity for all children. The association also advocates for assessment data to be clear, shared in culturally competent ways and provided alongside actionable solutions about how to address deficiencies and support learning in meaningful ways.

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit