• When asked what ideas were most important for improving public schools in their community from a list of
five options, testing ranked last in importance.
• When asked to select from four approaches that would
provide the most accurate picture of a public school student’s academic progress, standardized testing was again
at the bottom of the list.
• Americans are split on whether parents should be
allowed to excuse their child from taking one or more
standardized tests: 41 percent said yes; 44 percent said
no. A majority of public school parents said they would
not excuse their own child from
taking a standardized test; nearly
one-third said they would
excuse their own child.
while creating unnecessary stress for countless numbers of
children. I have known second-graders who have started
worrying about the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of
Academic Readiness) a year before they had to take it. This
kills the joy of learning. We believe most parents and teach-
ers have had it with the testing regime, and this poll seems to
bear that out.”
In the last year, the grassroots opt-out movement, which
allows parents to refuse to have their child take a standard-
ized test, has shown the extreme response to testing in some
areas of the country, particularly New York. Even though
opting out has not caught on nationwide, that does not mean
that Americans or public school parents are undecided about
standardized testing. As this year’s poll shows, many do not
like the increasing emphasis on testing.
In 1970, Americans showed support for testing. When
PDK/Gallup Poll asked Americans that year if they wanted
students in their local schools to take national tests so their
educational achievement could be compared with students
in other communities, 75 percent said yes.
Among this year’s findings regarding testing are the
• A strong majority (about eight in 10) of Americans
believe how engaged students are with their classwork
and their level of hope for the future are very im-
portant for measuring the effectiveness of the public
schools in their community. Testing came in last as a
measure of effectiveness, with just 14 percent of public
school parents rating test scores as very important.
• Sixty-four percent of Americans and a similar proportion of public school parents said there is too much
emphasis on standardized testing in the public schools
in their community, with just 7 percent believing there’s
In your opinion, is there too much emphasis on standardized testing in the public
schools in your community, not enough emphasis on testing, or about the right amount?
National Public African Hispanics Whites
Total School Americans
TooMuchEmphasis 64% 67% 57% 60% 65%
NotEnoughEmphasis 7% 8% 9% 13% 5%
AbouttheRightAmount 19% 20% 25% 16% 20%
Don’tKnow 10% 5% 9% 11% 10%
Source: PDK/Gallup Poll 2015