Voter Perceptions: Common Core State Standards & Tests

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NATIONAL SURVEY SHOWS COMMON STANDARDS AND COMMON TESTS HAVE SOLID VOTER SUPPORT

 

Achieve’s third national poll – Voter Perceptions: Common Core State Standards & Tests – shows solid majorities of voters support common standards, common assessments, and allowing teacher and students time to adjust to these new expectations.

This year's poll shows that awareness of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is inching up, even though nearly two-thirds of those surveyed still have heard "nothing" or "not too much" about the CCSS. Of those that said they had read, seen or heard recently about the standards, opinions were almost equally split between favorable and unfavorable, yet a plurality still favor implementation. Once voters were read a brief description of the CCSS, a solid majority, 69%, favored implementing the standards. 

Voters were also read claims made by both CCSS supporters and opponents and asked to choose which was closest to their point of view. Supporters' arguments of better prepared students, emphasis on critical thinking and less teaching to the test were favored by a two-to-one margin.

"Voters believe that schools should raise their expectations so that students graduate from high school ready for the world they will enter. With just basic, factual information about the Common Core State Standards and their purpose, voters favor the Common Core over the critics' objections," said Sandy Boyd, Achieve's Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. "Supporters of the CCSS have a solid base of support, but this survey is also a reminder of the importance of talking to voters regularly. Voters are open-minded, believe that the quality of education is important and need solid information about the Common Core that gets past the noise and the scare tactics."

For the first time in Achieve's series of polls, voters were asked about the effect of the Common Core and new tests on accountability and teacher evaluations. Voters believe that both student testing and teacher evaluations are important and should continue during implementation. Consequences, voters said, should only come for teachers, students and schools after an adjustment period, with a majority favoring a one or two year adjustment period.

"With implementation occurring in nearly all states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards, voters believe there should be a reasonable transition time given during this undertaking," said Boyd.

Major findings from the nation-wide survey include:

  • Three-quarters of voters believe a period of adjustment for the new standards and tests is to be expected (76%) and that the new standards and tests should be given time to work (74%).
  • The strongest numbers came when 81% of voters favored giving teachers and students time to adjust to the new expectations before there are consequences for test results with over half of voters feeling strongly about this.
  • A majority of voters (58%) believe teachers and students should have 1-2 years before there are consequences tied to the results of the new tests.
  • Even with strong majorities favoring time to adjust, over three-quarters (78%) of voters believe teachers should continue to be evaluated based in part on test scores during the transition with 26% believing those evaluations should be used only to reward good work or provide guidance to improve teaching and 19% agreeing only if the evaluations are not used to hire or fire teachers.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the voting public (63%) still has not heard much or nothing at all about the CCSS.
  • A majority of voters support states having the same standards (67%) and the same tests (61%).
  • After hearing a brief description of the CCSS, 69% of voters favor implementing the CCSS, while 23% oppose.
  • There is widely held support (66%) for replacing current end-of-year state tests with tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards with 31% of voters strongly favoring new tests.

Voter Perceptions: Common Core State Standards & Tests shows that there is voter support for implementation of the CCSS, including common assessments, even as implementation is occurring. 

On behalf of Achieve, Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research completed a national survey of 800 registered voters November 14-18, 2013. The poll has a margin of error of +3.5%.

MEDIA CONTACT: Chad Colby  (202) 419-1570, ccolby@achieve.org