Radio Series

The High Stakes of Today's Testing

Produced by: Katie Gott
Standardized tests have been around for nearly 125 years in the US. What's different now is that schools and teachers are being held accountable for the results of these tests. This in itself has parents and educators up in arms. Add to that President Bush's new education policy, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the stakes are raised, with threats of federal funding being cut off to underachieving school districts. Then there is the question of how and what the children are being tested on. And where does technology fit into this world of testing and accountability? We follow the paths of two failing schools, one in Maryland and the other in Virginia to understand how each state applies its testing policy, and how testing impacts schools, teachers, parents and children. In Virginia, we see how academic review teams, a type of teaching SWAT team, evaluate, support and improve a failing school. In Maryland, we see what happens to a school whose operations have been transferred to a for-profit company. What happens if these schools don't make the grade after the scores are in?