Put high-stakes testing to the test with this “Frontline” web site

High-stakes testing continues to be a lightning rod for national debate, as educators argue whether these assessments provide a valid measure of our students’ understanding or our schools’ degree of success. In a special report titled “Testing Our Schools,” the producers of the PBS television series “Frontline” set out to explore how the intense pressure to raise test scores is affecting the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. This web site is the online companion to the report, which features interviews with educators, policy makers, and testing experts from across the country. The web site includes sections on “Testing, Assessment, and Excellence,” which explores the rise of high-stakes testing, the meaning of accountability, and the dangers to education of too great a faith in tests; “The Testing Industry’s Big Four,” a look at the four companies—three test publishers and one scoring firm—that dominate the market for making and scoring standardized achievement tests; and “In Your State,” which uses an interactive map to provide a snapshot of how each state tests students, as well as information on standards and testing in all 50 states. Whatever your perspective on the issue, you’re sure to learn something at this informative and well-balanced site.

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