If you give a teacher performance pay….3 Comments
A recent study reported on in The Washington Post, Politics Daily, and Education Week found that offering teachers bonuses did not improve student achievement. There has been buzz about teacher performance bonuses in the past few years, especially since the President offered the Race to the Top awards. The results of this study, considered the first scientifically valid one on performance pay, conducted over three years by researchers at Vanderbilt University, cast doubt on the validity of teacher bonuses to help our students and raise questions about how we will improve schools and learning.
First, is tracking only test scores the answer? The teacher bonuses were based on increases in standardized student test scores. I think there are other, better ways to assess our students more completely. In addition, since so many schools are tying teacher and administrator performance to student test scores, is this the best way to judge professionals or to help us to improve our practice and teach more effectively? I hold out hope that a better review process for teachers in which we are encouraged to be reflective and dynamic in our planning and assessment is a step in the right direction.
So, what’s next if bonuses don’t work?