Classroom Achievement Often Doesn’t Measure up to Parents’ Perceptions

Classroom achievement often doesn’t measure up to parents’ perceptions

Nearly 90% of parents in a recent survey believe their child is performing at grade level — but 2022-23 data shows only 50% of students actually are, according to a report in The 74.

Nearly 9 out of 10 parents surveyed believe their child is performing at grade level in reading (88%) and math (89%) despite standardized tests showing far fewer students are on track.

“We absolutely don’t have 9 out of 10 students performing at or above grade level, unfortunately,” said Bibb Hubbard, founder of a national parent advocacy group, told The 74. “We need to give parents more information.”

The study also found that nearly two-thirds of parents (64%) said report cards — often considered the gold standard of measurements — were important in determining whether their child is at grade level. And for 79% of parents surveyed, those report cards showed their children getting mostly B grades or better.

“Grades don’t necessarily reflect grade-level mastery,” said Hubbard. “You can also have your fourth grader getting an A or B in reading and that’s because they are reading at a second-grade level and they are getting B’s on their quizzes at a second-grade level.”

When parents are more informed about their child’s academic progress, they are more likely to become engaged and discuss concerns with their child’s teacher, Hubbard said.

The study found that 97% of parents who know their child is below grade level in math are worried about their child’s math skills. Only 22% of the parents who knew their child was at or above grade level in math were concerned about their child’s math skills.

A national project, Go Beyond Grades, partners with local nonprofits to connect parents with teachers and helps them understand achievement scores, among other resources. The organization has local campaigns in New York City, Chicago, Washington, DC, Houston, Boston and Sacramento.

“Grades are important, but we need to unpack that a little bit and get some additional information about how your child is doing,” Hubbard said. “The call to action is pretty simple.”

The 74

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