Survey says: Overwhelming support for standardized testing

Teachers’ unions may oppose standardized testing, but Republicans, Democrats, the general public, parents, and varying demographic groups all overwhelmingly support standardized math and reading testing, according to the 2022 Education Next survey.

Conducted in May 2022 with a nationally representative sample of 1,784 American adults, the annual poll provides a telling deep dive into public opinion on a variety of education issues and how those perceptions have changed over the years.

Respondents were asked: “Do you support or oppose the federal government continuing to require that all students be tested in math and reading each year in grades 3-8 and once in high school?”

Democrats were the most supportive at 73 percent, followed by the general public and white respondents both at 72 percent, Hispanic and Republican respondents both at 71 percent, and black respondents at 70 percent. Sixty-eight percent of parents voiced support. Past Education Next surveys confirm public support for standardized testing maintained strong favorability even throughout COVID-19, holding steady at 71 percent in 2021 and 72 percent in 2022. Additionally, the partisan gap on annual testing “has actually been decreasing by about 0.3 percentage points per year on average,” according to David Houston, Martin West, and Paul Peterson, who shared the 2022 survey results.

Test scores are not the only indicator of success, but they play a key role in evaluating learning. Tests can also place healthy pressure on schools, identifying which schools are struggling to help their students meet the minimum academic expectations. Accountability is the name of the game, and tests are a part of that.