In a statewide poll of public school parents, 73 percent of respondents said the state administers too many standardized tests, and 65 percent said the exams have a “generally negative” impact on learning.
The poll, commissioned by New York State United Teachers, a statewide union, surveyed 400 parents of children in kindergarten through 12th grade about their knowledge of and opinions about new standardized tests students will take this month.
Third through eighth graders will take math and language arts tests based on new, more difficult curriculum, called the Common Core. NYSUT has launched a $250,000 statewide advertising campaign denouncing the tests after the union polled teachers and found that many classrooms were still without textbooks and other materials.
When surveying the parents, pollsters prefaced questions with such background information. For example, parents were told: “As recently as last month, the state was still introducing materials and instruction on how to implement the Common Core Learning Standards to schools while expecting students to have mastered the new standards by April. According to a statewide poll, two-thirds of teachers say the State Education Department is moving too fast in implementing” the standards.
Then pollsters asked the parents whether they agree that the students had not been given enough time to prepare for the new tests. Eighty-one percent said they agreed, 7 percent said that disagreed, and 12 percent said they weren’t sure.
With the same background information, 87 percent of parents concluded the state should provide more time with the new curricula before testing students. Six percent said they disagreed that the should should provide more time, and 8 percent said they weren’t sure.
Fourteen percent of parents said the state is moving at an appropriate pace, 75 percent disagreed with that statement, and 11 percent were not sure.
“Done right, the Common Core has the potential to enrich and expand student learning,” NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said in a statement. “But the state isn’t doing it right, and students and teachers are going to pay the price.”
(UPDATE) Education department spokesman Jonathan Burman argued in a statement Thursday that moving more slowly with implementation of the new standards would hurt children, delaying much-needed improvements to the public education system.
“Each year, approximately 65 percent of the cohort finish their fourth year of high school unprepared for college and careers,” Burman said. “That’s over 100,000 students. Every year we delay Common Core implementation, we have delayed the real world success of 100,000 more students. Every year we delay Common Core assessments, we have less information about whether these 100,000 students have made the progress they need to make.”
The education department argued in a statement Thursday that schools have been preparing for Common Core implementation for three years.
See the full results of the poll here: