Parents have some significant concerns about its use. (Please go to this link and scroll to page 19–Appendix A–to see this version of the survey. We do not know what this school year’s survey includes, because parents & teachers are not allowed to see it, but we are working under the assumption that it will be similar to the version linked here.)
1) The wording of the survey could be confusing to children, especially those who speak a second language or have reading delays. (e.g., items 8, 25, 45, & 52; elementary grades version)
2) The large majority of the answers are entirely subjective and student responses will vary depending upon their personal characteristics, values, and belief systems. (e.g., items 28 & 33, elem. version)
3) Some of the items ask students to reveal information they (and/or their parent/s) might not feel comfortable disclosing. For example, the survey asks students how many adults and children live with them (items 84 & 87, secondary version), how many books they have in their home/bedroom (item 85, secondary version/item 77, elem. version), and how many years of school the adult with the most education in their home has (item 89, secondary version). (We find it interesting that The Tripod Project does not list any of these more personal questions on its “Sample Student Survey Questions” webpage.)
4) These surveys take away instructional time and/or recess time from students. These surveys also may cause teachers to not discipline misbehaving students to get a higher rating from misbehaving students. Conversely, students who earned low grades, detention, or disciplinary action may purposefully rate teachers harshly.
In addition to our concerns about the Tripod survey itself, we have questions about how the data from these tests will be stored and disseminated. The US Department of Education weakened FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) over the past few years. (Click HERE to see how it was quietly changed without Congressional approval). As a result, schools can now release student records and data without parental consent to companies contracted by schools. So we ultimately have no idea who might see the information our children share in this survey or any other survey/assessment given by school districts or the state.
Some parents in Tennessee have wisely refused the Tripod survey for their children. However, in some districts, parents are never notified that their children will be given the survey, so they are denied the right to make a decision regarding it, and therefore will have no knowledge that their child even answered the survey questions unless their child tells them. This is wrong.
(This was reposted from www.StopTnTesting.com, an organized and growing group of parents in TN)