- Parents continue to believe their child is performing at or above grade level despite standardized test results suggesting their performance still lags compared to previous years. That could be because parents rely heavily on report cards to determine their child's overall achievement, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
- Parents most commonly said they relied on report cards to assess their child's achievement, so parents may be equating good grades on report cards with grade-level performance, per the report. However, report cards don't reflect other benchmarks of achievement parents should take in account, like standardized test performance, it said.
- "Relying on report cards in isolation could prevent parents from initiating crucial interventions on behalf of their child's academic progress," researchers warned, whereas providing a wider variety of measures, like standardized test performance, "could help more parents see the full picture."
The findings are based on a nationally representative survey of 2,000 public school parents and were released Wednesday by Learning Heroes, a nonprofit that advocates for family and educator relationships.
Similar to past findings, 9 in 10 parents said their child is performing at or above grade level in reading and math, and nearly 8 in 10 said their child is earning mostly Bs or better, according to the latest report.
These findings mirror conclusions reached last year in another report from Learning Heroes, which tracks the issue.
And this tendency for parents to say their children are performing well in school predates the pandemic. In 2016, 90% of parents said their children were performing at or above grade level in both reading and math, according to Learning Heroes.
In some cases, the pandemic led to increased parental involvement and concern over academics.
But declines in standardized and formative assessment scores following the pandemic, combined with surveys repeatedly finding that parents think their children are performing at least at grade level, have led testing experts to see a mismatch.
Standardized tests such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress "often paint a significantly different picture of student performance," according to the Learning Heroes report released Wednesday.
Last year, NAEP results showed historic declines in both math and reading for grade 4 and 8 in a majority of states, for example.
In 2021, even after a year of remote and hybrid learning, Learning Heroes found more than 9 in 10 parents said their child was at or above grade level, while only 44% of teachers considered their students prepared for grade-level work.
In the same 2021 survey, parents were more likely to say they worried a lot about politicians' involvement in student learning (40%), rather than worrying about their children being on track with academic expectations (27%).