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Learning Heroes

Gallup and Learning Heroes are committed to studying parents’ perceptions of their children’s academic progress.

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B-flation: How Good Grades Can Sideline Parents

How is my child doing in school?

Despite a variety of measures of academic achievement -- quiz grades, report cards and achievement tests -- it can be hard for parents to answer this question accurately. Nine in 10 parents believe their child is at or above grade level in reading and math. If they’re using their child’s report card as a main indicator, it’s understandable, as roughly eight in 10 students in the U.S. receive mostly B’s or better.

However, when looking at other progress measures, including standardized test scores, a minority of students -- roughly less than half -- are performing at grade level.

When parents know their children are falling behind, they are more likely to prioritize reading and math and to take action.

That's why Gallup and Learning Heroes have partnered to produce B-flation: How Good Grades Can Sideline Parents -- to give families the information they need to support their children academically.

B-flation: How Good Grades Can Sideline Parents report cover

This report explores parents’ experiences with and perceptions of their children’s academic progress, how they receive information from their school, and their worries and hopes for the future.

Download the report to discover key opportunities to better support parents and their school-aged children.

Listen to Gallup podcast episode, Students' Report Cards Might Not Be Telling the Whole Story About Their Performance, on these popular platforms or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Data for this study were collected via the web Oct. 2-9, 2023, using the Gallup Panel. A total of 1,971 surveys were collected from U.S. adults who self-identified as a parent of a child in K-12 school. This included mothers and fathers, legal guardians, foster parents, and stepparents who said they were also guardians. Parents who said their child had a diagnosed and significant cognitive disability were excluded from the study.

Weighting was conducted to ensure the sample was representative and matched national parent demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity and education, with cross-classified targets within race and Hispanic ethnicity. The margin of error of the full sample, adjusted for design effect, is ±3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For parents who said their child is below grade level in math, it is ±11.4 percentage points. See the full report for details.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Report Cards Don’t Tell the Whole Story
79% of parents say their child receives mostly B's or better, despite standardized test scores showing a minority of children (roughly less than half) are performing at grade level
1 in 5 parents say standardized tests are among the top three sources of information they find most helpful in determining whether their child is at grade level
78% of parents who know their child is below grade level in math and have conversations with their child's teacher say they've discussed their concerns about their child's academic progress

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