Publications & Resources

An Analysis of Parent Opinions and Changes in Opinions Regarding Standardized Tests, Teacher’s Information, and Performance Assessment

Feb 1995

Lorrie A. Shepard and Carribeth L. Bliem

In one of the few studies to analyze parents’ opinions about testing, CRESST researchers report that parents’ favorable ratings of standardized tests does not imply a preference for such measures over less formal sources of information. According to CRESST authors Lorrie Shepard and Carribeth Bleim, third-grade parents consider report cards, hearing from the teacher about their child’s progress, and seeing graded samples of student work to be much more useful in learning about their child’s progress than standardized tests. “Parents often mentioned the need for comparative information to know how to interpret their own child’s progress,” say Shepard and Bleim, “but they trust their teacher to tell them how their child was doing in relation to grade-level expectations or to other children in the class.” The authors also found that approval of standardized tests by parents does not imply a disapproval of performance assessments. When parents in the study had a chance to look closely at performance assessment problems, most endorsed their use for district purposes and especially preferred their use in classroom contexts. “A pervasive theme in the interview data,” say the researchers, “was that performance assessment problems `make children think’ and are likely to give teachers better insights about what children are understanding and where they are struggling.” (Note: This report is an update to CSE Technical Report 367.)

Shepard, L. A., & Bliem, C. L. (1995). An analysis of parent opinions and changes in opinions regarding standardized tests, teacher’s information, and performance assessment (CSE Report 397). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).