None of the Above

A New Approach to Testing and Assessment
August 2014

Standardized testing - when used effectively - can be deeply beneficial to students, teachers, and schools by providing an important measure of progress, as well as meaningful feedback about areas of success and areas of growth. As teachers, we know the costs and benefits of assessments. We believe in their value when they are used carefully. They can be a critical tool for teachers and students alike, and we would be unwise to discard them. At the same time, policymakers, administrators, and teachers must invest the time, money, reflection, and work necessary to fully realize the value of assessments and provide more equitable opportunity for all students.

Recommendations:

  • Improve the accuracy of standardized assessments by discouraging teaching to the test, piloting nontraditional tests, adopting computer-adaptive testing and seeking feedback on assessments.

  • Use testing data as part of a multiple measure accountability framework.

  • Create and maintain a positive testing environment in schools using best practices to deter, detect and investigate potential instances of cheating.

  • Use data to improve instruction through ongoing professional development for teachers, a dedicated data specialist in each school, and return of data to teachers in a timely, disaggregated and accessible manner.

About the Teacher Policy Team

We are a team of 14 teachers who met for eight weeks to review research on different facets of testing and assessment, particularly as they relate to New York City and New York State. We considered evidence from different perspectives, held small and large group discussions, and regularly challenged each other’s thinking.

Trevor Baisden
Founding 5th-grade ELA and History Lead Teacher at Success Academy Bronx 2 Middle School
Elizabeth Barrett-Zahn
K-5 Science Facilitator at Columbus Elementary School
Rachael Beseda
1st-grade Special Education Teacher at Global Community Charter School
Ezekiel Cruz
9th- to 12th-grade Social Studies Teacher at Manhattan Bridges High School
Suraj Gopal
9th-grade STEM Special Education Teacher at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies
Vivett Hemans
English and Language Arts Teacher at Eagle Academy for Young Men of Southeast Queens
Maura N. Henry
6th- to 12th-grade ESL Teacher at The Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria
Michelle Kniffin
9th- to 12th-grade Math Teacher at High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology
Jason Koo
Math Teacher at Albert Einstein Junior High School I.S. 131
Christine Montera
Social Studies Teacher at East Bronx Academy for the Future
Liliana Ruiz
6th- to 8th-grade Special Education Teacher at Bea Fuller Rodgers School I.S. 528
Charlotte Steel
7th-grade Math Teacher at Booker T.Washington M.S. 54
Blackfoot U-Ahk
4th- and 5th-grade Teacher of Students with Severe Emotional Disabilities at Coy L. Cox School P.369k
Iris Won
9th- to 12th-grade Mathematics and Technology Teacher at Renaissance High School for Musical Theater & Technology