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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

'B-flation' misleads parents: 89% say their child is at grade level

Seventy-nine percent of parents say their child is receiving mostly B's or better, and 89 percent believe their child is at or above grade level in reading and math, according to a new recent Gallup-Learning Heroes study, report Jennifer Dineen and Andrea Malek Ash.

But standardized test scores show that's not true for at least half of students. The gap between parents' perceptions and test scores is very large for black and Hispanic students.

Photo: August de Richelieu/Pexels

More than 85 percent of black and Hispanic parents think their child is at grade level in reading or math: NAEP reports 17 percent of black students and 21 percent of Hispanics show grade-level proficiency. (It's 42 percent for whites.)

Sixty-one percent of parents are "very or extremely confident" their child will be well prepared for college, the survey found. Among 12th graders taking the ACT, 40 percent met readiness benchmarks in reading, 30 percent in math. The numbers were much lower for black and Hispanic students.

Parents -- especially black parents -- say they'd take action if they knew their child was behind.

Survey respondents were asked what "to imagine that they had learned that their child received a B in math and had scored below grade level on two standardized math tests," write Dineen and Ash. Seventy-two percent of Black parents and more than half of Hispanic and white parents said they'd be "extremely or very concerned."

Black parents (57%) were roughly 1.5 times as likely as the national average (38%) to say they would access free online learning resources to support their child, and twice as likely to say they would get an in-school tutor (50% vs. 25%, respectively).

Most parents believe grades are the best measure of their child's progress, the survey found. They don't know those B's stand for "below average" until it's too late to do much about it.

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Nov 29, 2023

Which is why so many want to remove testing as well. They want parents to have no independent way of judging their kids' progress. If they knew where their kids were academically, they'd be more likely to leave the system, badger teachers, push for reforms, get their kids into a charter, etc.

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Dec 01, 2023
Replying to

Correct: our local district, Irvine Unified, which is the highest scoring large district in California, and whose kids regularly averaged around the 90th percentile when compared with other Californians when the state used to publish such data (California regularly hides such data under state Superintendent Tony Thurmond, who wants to be our next governor!), only ranked in the 70th percentile in reading, in comparison with its peers worldwide, and only in the 61st percentile in mathematics.

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