Opinions of members of the United States House of Representatives regarding national tests for 9th through 12th grade students

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

Anne Hocutt - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to describe the opinions of the members of the House of Representatives in the 108th Congress on the issue of national testing for public school 9th through 12 th grade students. The study describes the attitudes the members have about issues expressed in literature regarding national testing for public school students in general and for 9th--12th grade students in particular. It determines if their views on testing have relationships to their party affiliation, gender, ethnicity, region of the country, length of Congressional service and service on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Members of Congress are increasingly involved in the formulation of educational policy. It is appropriate to explore their perceptions on national testing as these policy makers will impact the shaping of educational objectives. Of the 434 members of the US House of Representatives (372 men and 62 women, 205 Democrats and 229 Republicans) excluding the researcher, 433 members (99.8%) completed the researcher-developed, self-administered survey.The members were divided on national testing, with 40 to 45% stating there should be no national testing. Regarding gender, women were concerned about discrimination against students as a result of the test; also, more women thought that teachers and test development specialists should be involved in test development. Regarding party affiliation, Democrats were concerned about resources for failing schools and districts, thought the Federal government should fund test development and administration, and were concerned about discrimination potential against student groups and failing schools. Republicans were concerned about loss of local control and promoted school choice as an option in districts where 20% or more of the students fail the test. Regarding ethnicity, there was stronger consensus between African-American and Hispanic members than between either of these groups and White, non-Hispanic members. Regarding region of the country, members who were not from the Northeast worried more about the loss of local control. The data suggests that party affiliation is a strong discriminating variable while other variables assessed seem to be subordinated. There was consensus that further research was necessary.


Education, Tests and Measurements; Political Science, Public Administration; Education, Higher

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