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National Poll Finds Parents and Teachers Want More Data and Better Support to Use It during COVID-19

Parents and teachers have had to deal with unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, but their demand for data is as strong as ever. The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) fifth parent poll and third teacher poll—conducted by The Harris Poll—makes clear that, especially during these uncertain times, parents and teachers value data. DQC’s national polls found that parents overwhelmingly want more information to support student success and teachers want more data on how the COVID-19 crisis has affected student learning—but teachers also want training and resources to use that data effectively. As state leaders pursue efforts to restart school in the fall, state policymakers and school leaders must take action to give parents and teachers the information and resources they need to ensure their students succeed.

“While the pandemic causes uncertainty in and out of schools, we know that parents and teachers want data and need more support to use it to help their students succeed,” said Data Quality Campaign President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger. “As state and district leaders prepare for instruction to resume—whether it’s in person, virtual, or a hybrid—they must prioritize getting parents the information they need and ensuring that teachers have both the data they need and the tools to use it. Taking steps toward both of these goals will ensure that those closest to students have the data they need to make decisions that best serve students.”

Parents see the value of data. They want more data to understand the effects of school closures on student learning in their communities and to inform recovery efforts to best meet students’ and families’ evolving needs.

  • 89% of parents are interested in information about how school closures and other COVID-19-related interruptions affected students’ long-term outcomes, and 87% of parents support their schools using data to alert them if their child is at risk of academic failure, not being on track in high school to graduate college and career ready, or dropping out of school.
  • 75% of parents support the secure sharing of data between schools and out-of-school-time partners, and 80% support sharing data between schools and other agencies to coordinate resources and provide additional supports to students and families.
  • 77& t of parents agree that states should resume administration of end-of-year summative assessments (e.g., state standardized tests like the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exams) in math and reading in 2021 to better understand how well schools and students are meeting academic standards.

Teachers continue to value data, but they need support to effectively use it during remote learning.

89 percent of teachers agree that they want data about which of their students are furthest behind so that they can provide targeted interventions to get their students back on track for success.

  • 46 percent of teachers say they did not receive trainings or resources about how to assess student learning and progress during school closures. Of those teachers who did not receive training, 78% say that type of training would have been helpful and 77% say that they would like that kind of support in the future.
  • Only 31% strongly agree that they had access to the student data they needed to provide relevant virtual instruction; 65% say they needed better checks in place to make sure their students were following the lesson while learning from home.
  • 87%want information about how school closures and other COVID-19-related interruptions have affected students’ long-term outcomes, and 90 percent support schools using data to help identify students most at risk of academic failure, dropping out of school, or not graduating college and career ready.
  • Only 48% of teachers agree that annual statewide assessments should return in 2021.

With the right support, parent and teachers are both optimistic about the potential of remote learning.

  • 82% of parents agree that their child’s school is prepared to implement virtual learning in the future, and 90% agree that high-quality virtual instruction is possible with the right supports, resources, and trainings in place.
  • Similarly, 82% of teachers agree that high-quality virtual instruction is possible with the right supports, resources, and trainings in place.

“Despite the circumstances, parents and teachers are asking for the same things that we hear them asking for every year: data to understand student progress and success, and the tools to use that data to help their students,” said Bell-Ellwanger. “As state and district leaders prepare for instruction to resume, they must prioritize parents’ and teachers’ clear demand for data and support.”

The teacher and parent surveys were conducted online within the US by The Harris Poll on behalf of DQC. This is the third year of the teacher poll and the fifth year of the parent poll. Teacher polling was conducted April 27–May 8, 2020, among 750 full-time teachers in the United States, all of whom were currently employed teaching grades K–12. Parent polling was conducted April 28–May 1, 2020, among 1,725 parents with at least one child age 5–17 (1,565 whose children attend school).

For more information on DQC’s 2020 national parent and teacher polls, including recommendations on what leaders can do to support teacher data use, visit DQC’s website.


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