A new Gallup survey finds a large majority of U.S. public school teachers support the idea of nationalized standards behind the Common Core, but most do not want tests linked to the standards used for evaluating teacher performance.
The poll indicates that 76 percent of public school teachers surveyed said having one set of nationalized standards would have a positive impact on education in the United States, while only 9 percent feel positively about linking teacher evaluations to their students’ Common Core test scores. Additionally, 27 percent of public school teachers surveyed said standardized computer-based tests should be used to measure students’ performance and progress.
These findings from the survey, as well as others, reveal a large disconnect between the solid support for the goals of the Common Core initiative among the teachers interviewed – 68% of whom have been teachers for 10 or more years – and their serious concerns about how it will affect students and teachers.
Results of the survey also indicate that 28 percent of teachers believe the Common Core should be implemented in 2014, while 32 percent say it should be delayed until 2015 or later. Only 26 percent say the Common Core standards should never be implemented, and 14 percent have no opinion on the subject.
In addition, 41 percent of teachers say student testing should be delayed until 2015 or later, while 40 percent say it should never be implemented.
Of the public school teachers polled, 79 percent say the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers’ performance should never be implemented, while 15 percent state linking teacher performance to the tests should be delayed until 2015 or later.
According to Gallup, 51 percent of public school teachers believe the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) standards are more rigorous than previous standards used at their schools, and 60 percent believe Common Core math standards are more rigorous than their prior standards. For ELA, 40 percent say Common Core standards are about the same as previous standards, and, for math, 29 percent say Common Core is about the same.
Only 9 percent of teachers find Common Core ELA standards less rigorous than prior standards, and 11 percent say Common Core math is less rigorous than standards used previously.
The perspective on the Common Core’s “rigor,” however, appears to be a function of the specific level taught in school, particularly for math, where 64 percent of elementary school teachers and 60 percent of those teaching middle school say Common Core is more rigorous than prior standards, while only 34 percent of high school teachers say the math is more rigorous.
For ELA standards, 65 percent of elementary school teachers and the same percentage of middle school teachers believe Common Core is more rigorous than prior standards, but 49 percent of high school teachers say Common Core is more rigorous.
Gallup also surveyed teachers’ reactions to four arguments in favor and four arguments against the Common Core standards.
Arguments in favor of Common Core:
- Enable teachers to better educate students who move from different states.
- Help colleges/professional development programs better prepare teachers for the classroom.
- Provide more accurate measurement of student achievement than by the current standardized testing.
- Help ensure that all students get the same high-quality level of education regardless of school district or location.
Arguments against Common Core:
- Takes too much control away from teachers over how they teach in their own classrooms.
- Results in students getting too little time for recess, art and music.
- Testing done to monitor student progress takes too much classroom time away from teaching.
- Linking teacher evaluations to student test scores is unfair to teachers.
“The majority of teachers agree with four main arguments in favor of the Common Core that were tested in the survey, as well as four main arguments against it,” states Gallup. “However, teachers more broadly agree with the four statements describing possible disadvantages of Common Core than with the four statements highlighting its possible advantages.”
The argument that Common Core helps students who move from different states was agreed to by 76 percent of teachers. Of those polled, 60 percent agree the standards help colleges better prepare teachers, 52 percent agree they provide a more accurate measurement of student achievement, and 52 percent agree they ensure all students receive the same high-quality education.
Regarding the disadvantages, 64 percent of teachers agree Common Core takes too much control away from teachers, 63 percent agree Common Core results in little time for recess and the arts, 78 percent agree student testing takes too much class time, and 89 percent agree with the argument that linking teacher evaluations to student test scores is unfair to teachers.
The Gallup poll results are based on web interviews conducted between August 11 and September 4, with a random sample of 854 public K-12 schoolteachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.