DER Documentary

Children Left Behind: A Documentary on High Stakes Testing

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by Dr. Louis Kruger
color, 46 min, 2009

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Most high school students in the United States are required to pass a series of exams in order to earn a high school diploma. From coast to coast, more and more states are using these high stakes tests in an effort to reverse the supposed rising tide of mediocrity in our public schools and close the achievement gap between socioeconomic and racial groups. The film, Children Left Behind, is about the well-intended purposes that are driving this movement toward high stakes testing, and its unintended consequences.

Children Left Behind, brings to the forefront the stories of students who are struggling with these tests. These compelling stories provide a springboard for the exploration of the educational, political and moral issues associated with these exams. The overwhelming majority of these students are the intended beneficiaries of education reform. They are students with disabilities, Latinos, African-Americans, English language learners, and students from economically impoverished communities.

The social justice issues are palpable. Testing is a ubiquitous part of our global society. The documentary raises the important question of whether we are leaving too many children behind in our quest for higher test scores.

Related Resources
Read an article about the film in the Harvard Education Letter

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