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Interviews


David Driscoll
David Driscoll is commissioner of education in Massachusetts and a longtime supporter of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), the state's customized -- and highly regarded -- test required for graduation from high school. In this interview with FRONTLINE, Driscoll offers his arguments in favor of the high-stakes exam, discusses steps Massachusetts is taking to address flaws in the test, and explains why he believes the MCAS is a fair and valid test. This interview was conducted by correspondent John Merrow on May 24, 2001.


George madaus
George Madaus is a professor of education and public policy and a senior fellow with The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College. He has analyzed the testing industry for more than 30 years. Madaus tells FRONTLINE that tests can and should be used to hold schools accountable, but not students, and that it is "bad practice" to judge a student's performance on the basis of test scores alone. This interview was conducted by correspondent John Merrow on May 24, 2001.


rod paige
Rod Paige is the U.S. secretary of education. From 1994 to 2001, he was superintendent of schools in the Houston Independent School District, and prior to that he served for a decade as dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University, where he established the university's Center for Excellence in Urban Education. In this interview with FRONTLINE two and a half months before the final passage of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, Secretary Paige answers critics and offers some of the underlying arguments in favor of the president's education-reform plan. This interview was conducted by correspondent John Merrow on Sept. 25, 2001.


James popham
A professor emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles and a former test maker, James Popham is a noted expert on educational testing. In this interview with FRONTLINE, he discusses the uses and misuses of standardized tests, the pitfalls of a public policy that fails to take the nature of tests into account, and why the results of traditional standardized achievement tests are not accurate measures of school quality. This interview was conducted by producer John Tulenko on April 25, 2001.


Audrey Qualls
Audrey Qualls is an associate professor of education at the University of Iowa and co-author of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, one of the most widely administered tests in the country. Qualls tells FRONTLINE that the tests she has developed were never intended to be used for high-stakes purposes. She also believes that the test-publishing companies will not be able to handle the increased demand created by President Bush's new mandatory testing policy. This interview was conducted by producer John Tulenko on April 25, 2001.


william schmidt
William Schmidt is a professor at the College of Education at Michigan State University and the national research coordinator and executive director of the U.S. National Research Center, which oversees the United States' participation in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). He tells FRONTLINE that much work remains to be done at the state level to improve curriculum standards -- to make them more rigorous, more teachable, and more measurable. This interview was conducted by correspondent John Merrow on April 26, 2001.


bob schwartz
A former high-school English teacher and education adviser to the governor of Massachusetts, Bob Schwartz is president of Achieve Inc., a nonprofit, bipartisan organization that was founded in 1996 by a group of governors and CEOs to help states implement standards-based education reform. He also is a part-time faculty member at Harvard, where he teaches a course on education policy. Here, Schwartz talks about the role of business in the standards movement, why the high failure rates on some states' tests are not politically sustainable, and why sanctions on schools that don't perform well on tests should be a last-resort measure. This interview was conducted by correspondent John Merrow on Sept. 25, 2001.


Amy Wilkins
Amy Wilkins is a principal partner at The Education Trust, an independent nonprofit organization devoted to reform in K-12 education. In this interview with FRONTLINE, she talks about the importance of academic standards to improving educational opportunity for poor and minority students. And although she acknowledges that much remains to be done to improve standards and testing in the states, she argues that standards-based reform offers the best hope of moving forward. This interview was conducted by correspondent John Merrow on Sept. 25, 2001.

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