Americans want life skills like budgeting and cooking added to standardized testing

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
September 18, 2017, 3:30 PM GMT+0

People with higher education say there’s too much emphasis on test scores

Much has been made about the pitfalls of standardized testing. Children learn in different ways and at varying rates, so testing for true knowledge can be counterproductive. According to a YouGov Omnibus survey, most Americans agree that up until college, standardized exams fall short when it comes to preparing children for daily life – and those who have gone through the most standardized testing (postgraduates), believe this more strongly than anyone.

Respondents who say they have a degree past a high school diploma also say that standardized testing is a poor measure of when to move a child to the next grade. The higher the respondent’s academic achievement, the stronger this sentiment is echoed.

While 46% of the general public believe that the best way to measure a student’s readiness for the next grade is by administering standardized exams, nearly the same amount of Americans believe that it is not (42%). A tale of skewed generational differences outlines how differently these exams are viewed. Just over half (55%) of those ages 55 and over say the exams accurately measure how prepared a student is. Four in ten (40%) millennials say the same but a slighter greater number say they disagree with how well standardize exams prepare students (47%). Americans between the age of 35-54 (54% of whom have children under 18, according to

YouGov Profiles

) are dead split in this view – 41% agreeing and disagreeing.

When asked if standardized tests prepare students for the tasks of daily life – like cooking for oneself or creating a budget and sticking to it – nearly six in ten adults said they didn’t (59%). YouGov also asked what abilities respondents would like a standardized test to measure and found that learning to budget (75%) and perform CPR (71%)were at the top. Over half of Americans (62%) wanted to test for memorization and creativity, two abilities that most standardized exams still measure, but life skills such as learning how to cook (63%), maintain a car (66%), and file taxes (68%) garnered much greater support.

Half of America think that there is too much emphasis on standardized test scores – a sentiment that 70% of people with postgraduate degrees believe. These postgrads also disagree that a student’s standardized test scores are indicative of a teacher’s performance (58%) but 51% of Americans say that the blame and merit of those scores rests with that teacher.


Image: Getty