None of the Above

A New Approach to Testing and Assessment

August 2014

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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.


  • 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.

Making good use of standardized tests

To fully realize the value that assessments can provide, we provide recommendations on the design, culture, teaching and accountability surrounding them.

About the Teacher Action 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