The article “Reframing School Culture Through Project-Based Assessment Tasks: Cultivating Transformative Agency and Humanizing Practices in NYC Public Schools,” co-authored by Guttman Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings with Drs. Maria Hantzopoulos and Rosa L. Rivera-McCutchen, has been published in the Teachers College Record. Building on the argument that high-stakes testing policies are ineffective and “have exacerbated inequities in schooling across racial, economic, geographic, and linguistic lines,” the researchers focus on the transition to Project Based Assessment Tasks (PBAT) at ten New York City public high schools that are part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium. The authors, who “specifically consider the role that PBATs might play in shaping school culture,” have found them “a useful tool to engage students and teachers more actively as participatory actors in the school environment, particularly when overall school structures collectively support its integration.”
“By anchoring the assessment process in the concept of transformative agency,” the researchers elaborate “how the transition to PBATs might reinvigorate school culture, redress harmful systemic injustices, and serve as a necessary part of school reform and education policy.” These findings have a clear and important bearing on efforts to alleviate the inequalities that persist in the NYC public school system. They also connect directly to Dr. Tyner-Mullings’ longstanding dedication to using the most innovative and effective practices to enhance the achievement and success of Guttman students.
Dr. Alia R. Tyner-Mullings earned a doctorate in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she researched alternative educational models. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on sociology, deviance, statistics, gender, research methods and education. After finishing her doctorate, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University, in the Sociology and Education Program and then an assistant professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. A former high school math teacher, Dr. Tyner-Mullings has served on assessment committees for three small high schools and has also worked as a statistical or academic consultant for several colleges and universities. Her research interests include the sociology of education, communities, sports, and cultural studies.
Dr. Tyner-Mullings authored Enter the Alternative School: Critical Answers to Questions in Urban Education (Paradigm Publishers, 2014), an in-depth examination of public school alternatives to traditional educational models. She is also the co-editor of Critical Small Schools: Beyond Privatization in New York City Urban Educational Reform (Information Age, 2012) and co-author of Writing for Emerging Sociologists (Sage Publications, Inc., 2013). The Sociology Student’s Guide to Writing was released in 2016, and the OER text Ethnography Made Easy, which Dr. Tyner-Mullings co-authored with Guttman colleagues for the College’s hallmark Ethnographies of Work course, was completed in 2020.