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Do you think teachers' pay should be based on test scores of students, considering the...

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momtroll04 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 15, 2010 at 10:04 AM via web

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Do you think teachers' pay should be based on test scores of students, considering the differences in areas where teachers work?

Race to the Top wants to pay teachers based on test scores. Some teachers (like me) teach in rural, poverty-stricken areas where test scores run low due to lack of parental involvement, high absenteeism, and many other reasons. Some teachers work in areas where parental interest is high, students come from moderate to high-level income families, and test scores are generally higher. Is it fair to base salaries on test scores given those scenarios? Also, give me input on some other fair way to determine teacher salaries.  Should education,  years' experience, national teacher test scores play a role? As a teacher I am interested in hearing what you have to say on this subject.  Thanks for responding!!

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 15, 2010 at 10:11 AM (Answer #2)

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There are issues with almost every current scheme of teacher pay and paying according to test scores certainly has plenty.  What do test scores really measure anyway?

But one thing I do think is important is that it wouldn't be so problematic if you test the students at the beginning of the year and then at the end.  If the teacher cannot help students improve on that test, then perhaps lowering their pay or raising it based on large improvements would be at least semi-valid.

But you obviously cannot base things simply on one test a year or on some arbitrary level of performance on a certain test without controlling for student circumstance and history.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 15, 2010 at 11:10 AM (Answer #3)

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In a word: no.  Ask any teacher and they'll most likely agree that many, many things affect student test scores, including many that are outside of a teacher's control or influence.  Nutrition, motivation, parental guidance, skills upon entering the class, sleep deprivation - the list goes on and on.  It's the old merit pay argument/debate and the terms of that debate really haven't changed, although the name of the program has.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 15, 2010 at 2:08 PM (Answer #4)

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I think that pay really ought to be based only on student performance.  Years of service and teacher test scores are irrelevant.  All that matters is whether students learn.

I agree with post #3 that there are other influences on student achievement.  However, I agree with #2 that start-of-the-year tests could provide a baseline and that progress from that start should be the basis for pay decisions.  I also think that the schemes should compare teachers within schools rather than across schools or districts.  That way you'd be measuring what teachers who face the same challenges are doing relative to one another.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 15, 2010 at 3:19 PM (Answer #5)

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I've always thought that the world of education should be run more like the business world - competitive salaries for a product that is better than others.  I think this would not only increase student performance, but also help to weed out teachers who are not performing at a satisfactory level.

I do not, however, believe that student test scores should be the main way to measure this.  Such a solution suggests that end of course, standardized, state tests are actually an accurate reflection of what a student knows and has learned.

I think standarized multiple choice tests are effective to an extent - and more so in objective classes like math.  Perhaps if the end of course tests were written more like AP exams - where multiple choice and essays were both required, and higher order thinking is tested.

I say this because as an English teacher I've had full classes who performed well above average on the end of course test in 9th grade English.  Because this test told them they were were "smart" they believed they were - and did very little in 10th grade to improve in their abilities.  In fact, while they were good at the process of elimination, most of them lacked the ability to problem solve and think and were terrible writers.  Under such a system the 9th grade teacher would have been rewarded for producing a class full of lazy, robotic, non-thinking, test takers.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 15, 2010 at 6:31 PM (Answer #6)

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We're much better at identifying the problems than we are at fixing them, that's for sure.  Everyone is right--weak or lazy teachers should be held accountable for poor performance; student test scores are impacted by many factors outside of teachers' control; standardized tests are not always indicative od student achievement and learning; teachers this year are, to some degree, dependent on how well the teacher last year did...and the list goes on. So what's the answer?  Probably the only way to be accurate is some kind of individual assessment for every student.  Since that's not feasible in any world, I'm kind of with #2.  If the measurement is taken under those limited conditions, at least there's a chance for some accuracy.

Lori Steinbach

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lynnetteholly | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 15, 2010 at 6:58 PM (Answer #7)

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I think linking teacher pay to student performance is a great idea – in theory.  I fear that wherever people are motivated by money there is bound to be unethical behavior.  Teachers already feel intense pressure to be sure that their kids are showing growth on progress monitoring and outcome measures.  When their paycheck depends on these measures many may feel even more pressured.  I believe the pressure could drive a normally moral and ethical person towards unethical behavior.

I teach in Florida and our state test is the FCAT.  It has been a huge mess this year.  Test scores were late, and now the state has called in two independent scoring companies because school district superintendants have questioned the reliability of the test.  This is another problem with basing teacher pay on a test.

In Florida the state legislators recently tried to pass a bill to tie teacher pay to student performance.  There were hours of arguments for both sides.  In the end the governor vetoed the bill.  But it does give one a glimmer of what is coming down the pipes.

I have no problem with merit pay, but it has to be fair, the test has to be reliable, and there has to be some method of ensuring fidelity during test administration.

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neziwengubelanga | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 16, 2010 at 7:13 AM (Answer #8)

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No.All factors must be taken into account e.g. experience,qualifications and learner performance.There are socio-economic factors that influence the learner performance.It must also be taken into account before penalising the educator.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted July 17, 2010 at 4:17 AM (Answer #9)

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Are good test scores all a school provides for its students??

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psjenkins | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 18, 2010 at 7:41 PM (Answer #10)

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I think linking teacher pay to student performance is a great idea – in theory.  I fear that wherever people are motivated by money there is bound to be unethical behavior.  Teachers already feel intense pressure to be sure that their kids are showing growth on progress monitoring and outcome measures.  When their paycheck depends on these measures many may feel even more pressured.  I believe the pressure could drive a normally moral and ethical person towards unethical behavior.

I teach in Florida and our state test is the FCAT.  It has been a huge mess this year.  Test scores were late, and now the state has called in two independent scoring companies because school district superintendants have questioned the reliability of the test.  This is another problem with basing teacher pay on a test.

In Florida the state legislators recently tried to pass a bill to tie teacher pay to student performance.  There were hours of arguments for both sides.  In the end the governor vetoed the bill.  But it does give one a glimmer of what is coming down the pipes.

I have no problem with merit pay, but it has to be fair, the test has to be reliable, and there has to be some method of ensuring fidelity during test administration.

One year our school district gave a stipend to teachers that showed a significant increase in test scores. I liked the additional money for my diligence. However, I only believe that a stipend is more appropriate than basing my pay on results. Adjusting teacher's pay according to test results is unfair. All schools and school districts are not created equal. Low income disadvantage students normally need lower class sizes for more individual attention to combat home environment. All schools should be conducive to it's specific population before any system can tie teacher pay to test scores.

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psjenkins | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 18, 2010 at 7:57 PM (Answer #11)

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I think that pay really ought to be based only on student performance.  Years of service and teacher test scores are irrelevant.  All that matters is whether students learn.

I agree with post #3 that there are other influences on student achievement.  However, I agree with #2 that start-of-the-year tests could provide a baseline and that progress from that start should be the basis for pay decisions.  I also think that the schemes should compare teachers within schools rather than across schools or districts.  That way you'd be measuring what teachers who face the same challenges are doing relative to one another.

Your idea would work if absenteeism, excessive tardiness and extreme transition were not problems in some schools. Our school population consist of 80% of families living in temporary homes. Last year, I ended the school year with only 5 students who started the school year with me. Students enroll and withdraw everyday at our school. With all of the above issues, ccomparing pre and post tests doesn't give an accurate measurement of teacher performances. Besides a good education should not be geared towards a test score. It should be geared towards whether our students are productive, employable, law abiding citizens. What happened to fulfilling mission statements and visions? Passing a test doesn't prove that a student has a good education.

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tresvivace | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted July 20, 2010 at 4:59 AM (Answer #12)

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Absolutely not!  Test scores are at best a snapshot of student performance in time and at worst a distortion of learning and a disincentive to creativity.  Even if the tests are valid, students do not learn in a straight curve, but by leaps and bounds.  Sometimes students' strong test performance one year may say more about the teachers these students had the year before or even the year before that as the foundations of learning were being established.

Besides, teachers work best in a sharing community.  If our salary becomes competitive, we will be less likely to share what works best for us.  Teachers might begin to hoarde their best ideas so that they can earn the highest salary when their own students show the biggest gains--even though the results might not work like this.

A book that changed my life was Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with A's, Praise, Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, and Other Bribes.  In this amazing book, Kohn clearly demonstrates (by citing scholarly psychological research and exploring the logical extension of that research) why "bribing" students and teachers does not work.  Intrinsic rewards, such a job satisfaction and good rapport with students, results in the best teaching.  I'm not saying we don't need to be remunerated well for what we do--of course, we do.  But our salary should not be based on test scores.

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tresvivace | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted July 20, 2010 at 6:46 AM (Answer #13)

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Although I already posted to this discussion, I just found this excellent article suggesting that even in the corporate world, the high pay executives receive often involves things that are not considered "measurable."  Apparently, executives often continue to receive very high pay and big bonuses even when they don't meet their goals.  Read on:

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/walt_gardners_reality_check/2010/07/corporate_criticism_of_teacher_pay_is_hypocrisy.html

 

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dancer7 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted July 21, 2010 at 1:33 AM (Answer #14)

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The idea that a teacher's entire job is merely the imparting of those facts which the student will encounter on their exam is nonsense. Suggesting pay should be linked directly to test scores is absurd. What is an education? Only test scores?

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keefeville | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 21, 2010 at 1:52 PM (Answer #15)

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I do not think that a teacher's pay should be based on thier students' test scores. Just because we as educators value the state testing, does not mean that our students take the tests seriously. Even though teachers always emphasize the importance of the tests. students get tired of sitting for hours and will sometimes answer anything just to get through the test. It takes more of an effort to read and evaluate each answer and not all students are willing to spend their time to "do their best." Also students in lower income families do not always have the working vocabulary that test language utilizes. They simply may have not been exposed to the language. Teachers can dilligently prep their students and sometimes, this still does not work. I think by giving educators a academic goal for their students through the testing is okay, but how many of these students retain the academic language and knolwedge very long after the test is completed?

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karabo | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 22, 2010 at 4:17 AM (Answer #16)

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In some cases it might apply but our learners must be very well aware of their surroundings as well as become ambassadors of their communities..it is then we can think of raising the pay..

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flamingogirl | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 22, 2010 at 6:20 AM (Answer #17)

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NO! I, too, work in a school where the majority of students come from low-income families. This makes a HUGE difference in a child's academic achievement. I know from experience that teachers in these schools are NOT working less; in fact, they are working longer hours and attending more required meetings than the teachers at middle class/upper middle class schools in this county. It's easy to look like a good teacher when you work with children whose parents are able to provide educational experiences through vacations, preschools, and simple parental involvement. But low-income parents are usually under-educated and do not realize the importance of reading to their children or even having books in the house. These parents also don't have the time to spend with their children because they work multiple jobs trying to make ends meet, and they certainly don't have the money for vacations and private preschools. It's not fair to punish teachers who are trying to reach these children by taking away their pay. Those teachers work just as hard or harder, but they can't do it all. They can't go with them at night and make sure the children do their homework, eat a nutritious dinner and go to bed at a decent time.

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sukatx | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:37 AM (Answer #18)

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Do you think teachers' pay should be based on test scores of students, considering the differences in areas where teachers work?

Race to the Top wants to pay teachers based on test scores. Some teachers (like me) teach in rural, poverty-stricken areas where test scores run low due to lack of parental involvement, high absenteeism, and many other reasons. Some teachers work in areas where parental interest is high, students come from moderate to high-level income families, and test scores are generally higher. Is it fair to base salaries on test scores given those scenarios? Also, give me input on some other fair way to determine teacher salaries.  Should education,  years' experience, national teacher test scores play a role? As a teacher I am interested in hearing what you have to say on this subject.  Thanks for responding!!

  I feel it is fair to pay teachers based on test scores, as long as the criteria for the pay is individualized to each teacher's and school's unique situation.

It would be fair if a teacher, such as yourself, in a poverty stricken school were given reasonable goals based on your students.  A teacher in a more affluent school with high parent involvement should be given a different set of goals.  The criteria could be based on a school's prior success rate.

I taught in a district that gave teachers stipends for their test scores in this way.  My school was already a high-achieving school, so our goal was to increase our passing rate to 92%.  A friend of mine who taught at a not-so-high achieving school had a goal where the school was to increase to 82%.  Both of us got the stipend that year.

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:06 AM (Answer #19)

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Absolutely not. As everyone else has pointed out, there are so many factors contributing to student success/failure, no one person (in many cases, not even the student) can control the outcome. And why are test scores the determination for teacher success? Many teachers would argue that they serve no real evaluative purpose. And what test scores do we use? District benchmarks, state tests, AP tests, SATs....the options are many, varied, and equally flawed when serving as a basis for pay determination.

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shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 23, 2010 at 10:01 AM (Answer #20)

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No, I don't think this is effective.  Schools are not factories where quotas are rewarded.  Students are not on an assembly line and one size does not fit all.  

Students are living, breathing individuals.  Each student has their strengths and weaknesses.  They have personal problems which they bring with them into the classroom. 

I have worked in education for over 35 years and yes, there are the bad apples, but for the most part, I have worked with dedicated and hard working people.  Most teachers I know are overworked and under paid. 

Using student test scores as a merit pay is a slap in the face to those hard working teachers who are victims of in-school politics.  Let's face it, we all know politics are involved.  If a principal wants to get rid of a teacher, there are ways to do it.  For example, a teacher can be given a schedual that does not play to their strengths.  They are great with upper level students so they are assigned ESOL classes or low level students where they are not as effective.  Or they can be assigned the class from hell where every discipline problem student is assigned.

I resent non educators telling me my job yet that is the way it is.  There should be some sort of rule in education that those who are not in the classroom but who decide what is done in the classroom should be required to teach for a month at least once every three or four years.

Often students don't understand what you are trying to teach them at the time.  I can't tell you how many former students have gone out their way to thank me years after their classroom experience.  Exactly what a student learns cannot really be measured since one's education is an ongoing process.

 

   

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dastice | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted July 27, 2010 at 7:03 PM (Answer #21)

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I agree with the majority on this one and say absolutely not!  Far too many variables affect student performance, including their previous experiences in education.  When kids are given assessments for their grade level but are not working at grade level, can a standardized assessment really reflect the gains they have made?

I had a handful of students begin the year in my second grade class reading at a kindergarten level.  By the end of the year they had made it to a beginning-of-second-grade level, which was great progress.  However, they were still unable to read and comprehend many of the passages designed for students reading at an end-of-second-grade level that appeared on the final assessment.  To anyone looking strictly at these test scores, it would appear that these students learned nothing over the course of the year.  I shudder to think what my fate would have been if these scores determined my pay.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted July 28, 2010 at 7:53 AM (Answer #22)

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As far as I understand, Race to the Top affects only teachers in Tennessee and Delaware. I'm in Tennesse, so I can speak about how it affects me. Our pay will not be based on our test scores--our employment will depend on whether our students show adequate yearly progress (AYP) over the previous years' scores. That means if Johnny aced his end of course test (EOC) in English 1 but had a bad day and didn't do so well on his English 2 EOC, he's going to show a drop in his AYP, and his English 2 teacher is going to be held accountable for that. All teachers will be evaluated annually beginning in 2011, and 35-50% of that evaluation will be based on our EOC. Does it worry me? Sure, it does. But since the EOC will count as 25% of students' overall grade for the course, I don't think there will be many who will intentionally bomb on the test just to hurt the teacher. If I do what I'm supposed to do and cover all the state standards, I should do fine.

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vonn | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted July 28, 2010 at 9:42 PM (Answer #23)

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Teacher is a vocation and a mission. We must not consider the low salary we have as one of the disadvantages of being a teacher. Our role as a teacher does not look at himself in a big wealth or in the material things we have. We teach because we wanted to not we have to.

The real essence of teaching is the number of students we help to develop as a good citizen. We consider ourselves to be a catalyst of change in one's country through providing adequate education.

Your not an effective teacher if your basing it on the scores of the students. Lets not consider this as a guide because this is not one of the principles in evaluation and assessing our teaching skills.

We help students as long as we can. Even if its tired nor difficult. We must strive for providing good education in different ways and different places. The fruit we will reap cant be seen directly but later on we will reap the fruit that will surely taste to be the sweetest.

A Satisfaction Guarantee.

 

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pghinaudo1 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 29, 2010 at 3:21 AM (Answer #24)

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Although I do believe that assessments of some sort are a necessary evil, I think that linking them to pay creates a divisiveness between educators.   In this day of collaboration and teamwork, when we should be modeling education on "the real world" and not keep the fishbowl mentality, there are still those who would push us to keep the best ideas to ourselves and "look out for number one."  If we are trying to help our students succeed in a world where they will be working in teams and (wishful thinking on my part) not stabbing each other in the back, then we should model that behavior.  We should be paid as professionals for the good job we do.  If we are not doing well at the job, there is always retail sales, but those who are doing the job should not be penalized if they have students that have a bad year.  We all have seen the ebb and flow of student scores.  It is not just because the teacher is good one year and bad the next.

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angel-girl | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted July 29, 2010 at 8:26 PM (Answer #25)

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Though I may not be a teacher, I think us students will surely drop their pay, looking at how lazy most of my classmates are, especially if you are in government schools.

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cstein1979 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 30, 2010 at 3:33 PM (Answer #26)

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NO NO NO NO and NO!!! Absolutely NOT!! A teacher has no control from one year to the next what students he/she will get in the classroom.  Are you going to penalize a SpEd teacher because his/her students score lower on the standardized tests than the teacher who has the AP students? Where is the fairness in THAT?

Or maybe we should just fire the SpEd teachers if their students can't pass the standardized tests??!! That would just make all kinds of sense, right??

I don't get to choose what students I will get.  Yet, the teacher who teaches Anatomy, she happens to get students who are brighter and score higher on standardized tests than the students I get.  Does this mean she should get bonuses and I should NOT!!

We both work VERY hard to teach our subject matter - just as hard.  We both have approximately the same number of students.  We DON'T happen to turn out widgets, however, we have student, people, NOT things!!

When are the proponents of performance pay going to understand this??

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cstein1979 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 30, 2010 at 3:40 PM (Answer #27)

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As far as I understand, Race to the Top affects only teachers in Tennessee and Delaware. I'm in Tennesse, so I can speak about how it affects me. Our pay will not be based on our test scores--our employment will depend on whether our students show adequate yearly progress (AYP) over the previous years' scores. That means if Johnny aced his end of course test (EOC) in English 1 but had a bad day and didn't do so well on his English 2 EOC, he's going to show a drop in his AYP, and his English 2 teacher is going to be held accountable for that. All teachers will be evaluated annually beginning in 2011, and 35-50% of that evaluation will be based on our EOC. Does it worry me? Sure, it does. But since the EOC will count as 25% of students' overall grade for the course, I don't think there will be many who will intentionally bomb on the test just to hurt the teacher. If I do what I'm supposed to do and cover all the state standards, I should do fine.

Let me tell you horror stories about AYP.  In Ohio they have used AYP to measure how your school is doing as far as the standardized testing is going and measuring your school's progress.  Sounds okay, right? 

What if you reach 99%?  How do you show AYP the next year?  YOU CAN'T!! So that year you are penalized because there is no possible way on God's green Earth that you can!

School's here that were in the high 90s on AYP started getting penalized because they weren't showing AYP - because it's IMPOSSIBLE!!!!

Too many years without AYP - oops, sorry, the state will come in and take over because you are obviously doing something wrong because you are not meeting AYP....tsk, tsk...

This is why OUR local school district overwhelming voted NOT to take Race to the Top Money.  They have been burned too many times with having to jump through too many hoops just to be told you are not any good.... :-(

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tario45 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 6, 2010 at 4:46 AM (Answer #29)

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First of all, I think basing our pay upon a test taken one day or week during a student's year is ridiculous.  It doesn't take into account all the many variables that could make the test unvalid for it's purpose; evaluating the teacher.  Second of all, the problem with the beginning and end of the year test is WHO is doing the testing?  I teach kindergarten and first grade.  This summer, while teaching summer school, I received some DRAs (Reading assessments administered by the teacher) that were drastically inflated!  Why?  Because the teachers wanted to show growth!!!  Our state has adopted a test, FAIR, that is administered three times a year -again, in kindergarten and first grade by the teacher - but in every grade we've compained that it's too vague, and that in many cases it compares apples to oranges (first test showed how many letters the child could identify, second test showed how many sounds the child could identify and never asked how many letters they had learned at that point)!!!   My point is this....the pressure of merit pay by student performance is leading some teachers to cheat.  It brings to mind the old adage of evaluating a dentist by the number of cavities their patients have.....utterly ridiculous!

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kristenfusaro | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted August 6, 2010 at 6:16 PM (Answer #30)

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As teachers, I think it is really easy for us to say "no" to this question because we have all had times when we've worked especially hard, but the student(s) did not perform; however, I think debunking the teacher-performance-pay would be a detriment to American education.

With respect to education, so many other countries are outperforming the United States because of our general lackadaisical approach to student performance. We allow our students to create 3D diagrams, draw pictures, avoid memorization, etc., and then  they are given high-stakes standardized exams that they cannot perform on. In our globalized society, do employers want students who can make attractive dioramas or students who will perform under extreme pressure?

Our coddling approach is the reason that our students are performing so poorly! First and foremost, we coddle teachers. A teacher's master's degree is the easiest degree to receive. I struggled more with my undergraduate degrees in English and Russian than I did in my master's program. And, come to think of it, I learned -- and I never made one diorama; I read and I wrote - end of story. If I did not write my papers, I would not graduate with an English degree; if a teacher's students are not learning, he/she should not keep his/her job. Why should educators be held to a different standard than any other employee? We become enraged when our students do not complete their homework, fail exams, or do not show up to class -- why should we be given parlay rights?

Standardized testing and globalization are not going away. Colleges are requiring more writing and more examinations and they are accepting more interntational students than ever before. Instead of sitting around whining about situations that will not change, but will only become more severe, we should pull both ourselves and our students by the proverbial bootstraps and start challenging them to succeed in the actual world they live in.

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crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted August 8, 2010 at 7:38 PM (Answer #31)

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It's a difficult question to answer because there are so many different factors that go in to a student's test score, most of which have little reflection on how well the teacher is doing their job.  All teachers want their students to pass, and great teachers will go beyond their job description to guide their students; however, their responsibility ends once the student has sat down to take the test.

Should teachers be penalized for unmotivated students?  Should teachers be penalized for students with yet unrecognized learning disorders?  Should teachers be penalized for a student that gets test anxiety?  Should teachers be penalized for students with a less than ideal home life that is affecting their school performance?  These situations could go on and on, and the logical answer is of course no.  It is hardly just for a teacher to be penalized for a situation they have no control over.

Then it begs the question of corrupt teachers, which lets face it, do exist.  These teachers could abuse the system and aide their students in cheating.

That said, how do you separate the bad teachers, from the good teachers, from the great teachers.  It is my opinion that student feedback is one of the most valid methods of ascertaining how well a teacher is doing at their job.  This is exactly how universities determine how well their professors and TAs are meeting their students' needs.  Of course, you can't give a first grader a survey so that doesn't work in all situations.

Long story short though, no, I don't believe students' test scores should be reflected in the teacher's pay.

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crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted August 8, 2010 at 7:45 PM (Answer #32)

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As teachers, I think it is really easy for us to say "no" to this question because we have all had times when we've worked especially hard, but the student(s) did not perform; however, I think debunking the teacher-performance-pay would be a detriment to American education.

With respect to education, so many other countries are outperforming the United States because of our general lackadaisical approach to student performance. We allow our students to create 3D diagrams, draw pictures, avoid memorization, etc., and then  they are given high-stakes standardized exams that they cannot perform on. In our globalized society, do employers want students who can make attractive dioramas or students who will perform under extreme pressure?

Our coddling approach is the reason that our students are performing so poorly! First and foremost, we coddle teachers. A teacher's master's degree is the easiest degree to receive. I struggled more with my undergraduate degrees in English and Russian than I did in my master's program. And, come to think of it, I learned -- and I never made one diorama; I read and I wrote - end of story. If I did not write my papers, I would not graduate with an English degree; if a teacher's students are not learning, he/she should not keep his/her job. Why should educators be held to a different standard than any other employee? We become enraged when our students do not complete their homework, fail exams, or do not show up to class -- why should we be given parlay rights?

Standardized testing and globalization are not going away. Colleges are requiring more writing and more examinations and they are accepting more interntational students than ever before. Instead of sitting around whining about situations that will not change, but will only become more severe, we should pull both ourselves and our students by the proverbial bootstraps and start challenging them to succeed in the actual world they live in.

I agree with you completely that it is the coddling of students that reflects poorly in the global comparison of North American test scores.  There is a really strong mentality, especially amoung parents, that you should not fail a student, but then is it better to push them through the school system because his self esteem might be affected if he fails grade two?  No, it isn't.  His self esteem will be negatively impacted even more when he gets to highschool, college, or university and just doesn't cut it.  He would have been better off to repeat the grade until he had the foundation needed to succeed in the following year.

I don't think a sliding pay scale for teachers based on student performance is the correct solution though, because poor student performance is rarely the result of inadequate teaching.  The system itself needs to be fixed, and parents need to be better educated on how to help their children succeed.

To draw upon an athletic example: a ballet student that does not practice at home will not be as good as other students not because her teacher isn't as good, but because she hasn't made the effort.  The same goes for students who have parents who aren't actively involved in their education.

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 15, 2010 at 2:22 AM (Answer #33)

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No, absolutely not. I'm sure that many will agree with me when I say that regardless of the efforts of the teacher, some students just don't get it. There are a multitude of variables that determine the performance of the student. Some of these of course can be controlled by the educational institution, most can not. Many students have emotional and psychological issues that hinder school performance. These are social issues that the teacher has no bearing on and therefore should not influence the rate of compensation.

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kristenfusaro | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted August 16, 2010 at 7:40 AM (Answer #34)

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In reply to #30: I agree with you completely that it is the coddling of students that reflects poorly in the global comparison of North American test scores.  There is a really strong mentality, especially amoung parents, that you should not fail a student, but then is it better to push them through the school system because his self esteem might be affected if he fails grade two?  No, it isn't.  His self esteem will be negatively impacted even more when he gets to highschool, college, or university and just doesn't cut it.  He would have been better off to repeat the grade until he had the foundation needed to succeed in the following year.

I don't think a sliding pay scale for teachers based on student performance is the correct solution though, because poor student performance is rarely the result of inadequate teaching.  The system itself needs to be fixed, and parents need to be better educated on how to help their children succeed.

To draw upon an athletic example: a ballet student that does not practice at home will not be as good as other students not because her teacher isn't as good, but because she hasn't made the effort.  The same goes for students who have parents who aren't actively involved in their education.

I absolutely agree with your point regarding education at home; you make a wonderful argument about learning being a byproduct of continuous practice. You also stated that "poor student performance is rarely the result of inadequate teaching," which I do and don't agree with. As educators, we all know that when we connect with our students, they perform better, of course, human beings are inconstant variables, thus even our best students aren't always top; however, perhaps merit pay will motivate the otherwise apathetic teacher.

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ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted August 19, 2010 at 2:50 PM (Answer #35)

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I've thought about this issue on so many different occasions, and each time, I've tried really hard to see both sides. For me, the problem always comes back to one thing: we don't have very good, objective ways to measure student performance.  A standardized test?  Give me a break.  Like previous posters note, so many extraneous factors have a role in student performance, and it's unfair to hold teachers who teach different levels (and who teach students from all walks of life) to one set of standards that might be used to measure other kids.  I can see the benefits of performance-based pay in theory, but I just don't see it happening in a way that's fair for everyone involved. 

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non91 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 20, 2010 at 3:58 AM (Answer #36)

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yes i realyy do think that teachers pay should be based on the students scors. U no why? because teacher plays a huge role in motivating the child to learn. A teacher who is teaching kids at the lost class simply dosnt care. I have heard people tell, my own friends. If the teacher acts respnsiblity in this situation and motivates the student then, the student will be willing to learn.

Then again it also come back to the student motivating her/him slef. However i personally beliieve the teacher is the big one.

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crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted August 22, 2010 at 12:10 PM (Answer #37)

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In reply to #32: I absolutely agree with your point regarding education at home; you make a wonderful argument about learning being a byproduct of continuous practice. You also stated that "poor student performance is rarely the result of inadequate teaching," which I do and don't agree with. As educators, we all know that when we connect with our students, they perform better, of course, human beings are inconstant variables, thus even our best students aren't always top; however, perhaps merit pay will motivate the otherwise apathetic teacher.

A teacher that needs merit pay to be motivated shouldn't be a teacher at all.  I think in the end it will do more unnecessairly penalizing of good teachers, than it will improving education.

The system itself is the problem.  Teachers do not have nearly enough input, and parents are too underactive in their children's education.

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newtownrebecca | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 22, 2010 at 3:17 PM (Answer #38)

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I write as the unfortunate, but realistic and open-minded mother of an extremely clever child, IQ aged 4 123, problem solving skills can only be described as frightening for any adult to have to deal with. To face her at 6.5 yrs of age in any classroom with you attempting to earn the respect of 25 other kids can be nothing less than my worst scenario. I regret that there is no system outside of the mainstream to teach her, I feel that she should probably be taught at home, but I don't have the resources to do it, neither will she learn the social skills she so desperately needs as both an only child and an overly clever one. So I leave her to you and your over-crowded classes. More importantly, she is going to be stealing your time and monopolizing you and you will have less time to spend with the kids who take longer to learn. She will be placed at the back of the class and disciplined constantly because she's bored and wants less repitition (which will accommodate the slow learners and alienate the fast learners like her). The only solution has to be that we recognise the fast learners, for they are not more clever than the rest of us, they simply learn stuff faster. We must reject immediately all our childrens' attempts to communicate with us in txt language. We must insist that our children READ, wRITE, RESPECT and if we have any energy left at the end of the day, we should ask that they love us, because U n I both think we've EARNED IT.

xxR

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newtownrebecca | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 22, 2010 at 3:46 PM (Answer #39)

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OMG i've just read all this stuff from 32 thru 38, can you believe that these people are identifying themselves as numbers? Your government is paying them salaries and saving up pensions in their names? What have they achieved? I leave this forum open to them.

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crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted August 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM (Answer #40)

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OMG i've just read all this stuff from 32 thru 38, can you believe that these people are identifying themselves as numbers? Your government is paying them salaries and saving up pensions in their names? What have they achieved? I leave this forum open to them.

When you reply to someone that is the text (In reply to...) that is auto-generated by this forum.  It would be tedious and a waste of time to re-invent the wheel every single time you reply to someone.

And besides, on the internet everybody is a number.  A username is no different than a number, a placeholder to indentify a person that is otherwise meaningless, unless people called you newtownrebecca on a regular basis.

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crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted August 23, 2010 at 12:36 PM (Answer #41)

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I write as the unfortunate, but realistic and open-minded mother of an extremely clever child, IQ aged 4 123, problem solving skills can only be described as frightening for any adult to have to deal with. To face her at 6.5 yrs of age in any classroom with you attempting to earn the respect of 25 other kids can be nothing less than my worst scenario. I regret that there is no system outside of the mainstream to teach her, I feel that she should probably be taught at home, but I don't have the resources to do it, neither will she learn the social skills she so desperately needs as both an only child and an overly clever one. So I leave her to you and your over-crowded classes. More importantly, she is going to be stealing your time and monopolizing you and you will have less time to spend with the kids who take longer to learn. She will be placed at the back of the class and disciplined constantly because she's bored and wants less repitition (which will accommodate the slow learners and alienate the fast learners like her). The only solution has to be that we recognise the fast learners, for they are not more clever than the rest of us, they simply learn stuff faster. We must reject immediately all our childrens' attempts to communicate with us in txt language. We must insist that our children READ, wRITE, RESPECT and if we have any energy left at the end of the day, we should ask that they love us, because U n I both think we've EARNED IT.

xxR

I was in the same position your child is in and I turned out perfectly fine.  Why?  My parents engaged me in activities after school that both challenged me, and provided me with opportunities to acquire social skills.  School isn't the end all and be all of education.  It's only a very, very small part of it.  Most parents too easily leave it up to the school system to educate their child, but it is only there to teach a very specific set of skills, and impart only a small protion of knowledge.  The real job belongs to the parents.

I've said it before, and I will say it again: the real problem with education is not the teachers, but the people that make the system, and parents too busy with their own lives to take an active role in their child/children's education.

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newtownrebecca | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:37 PM (Answer #42)

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In reply to #39: When you reply to someone that is the text (In reply to...) that is auto-generated by this forum.  It would be tedious and a waste of time to re-invent the wheel every single time you reply to someone.

And besides, on the internet everybody is a number.  A username is no different than a number, a placeholder to indentify a person that is otherwise meaningless, unless people called you newtownrebecca on a regular basis.

I accept what you are saying and apologise for the tone of my post. I was frustrated and probably slightly angry! And you are correct, nobody would ever call me by my username! 

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liveurdreams | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 29, 2010 at 6:25 PM (Answer #43)

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I don't think teachers pay should be based on tests scores.  I taught in a low socioeconomic area that is 97 percent hispanic.  The school I taught at was a title 1 reading first school.  Most students are ELL learners.  You have students that will do well on tests and others that won't.  As teacher you can do whatever it takes to teach students but if they don't apply themselves and want to learn what your teaching than that shouldn't be your fault.  You can't make students do well on tests.  It is up to them.  Teachers shouldn't be punished because of that.   

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lclasson | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 2, 2010 at 6:31 AM (Answer #44)

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In response to post 26 and post 31,  I agree that teachers should not have their pay based on test scores.  If this system is implicated, then there will not be any teachers that will want to teach the special education students.  Student exam scores can vary due to many different factors.  If a teacher already knows that a student has an IEP, that will raise a red flag about test scores and the teacher will not want to have the student in the classroom.  If anything, maybe teachers that take on more students that are classified as special education or have home problems, etc., should be given an additional incentive for taking on students that have problems.  May times a teacher needs to further develop lesson plans and instruction methods to try to meet the specific needs of these students.  I liked the idea that individual student progress be measured from the the beginning of the year to the end of the school year.  That seems to be a better way to measure student achievment than a standardized test.

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mathteach01 | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 8, 2010 at 6:07 AM (Answer #45)

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have worked in two states and the most recent stae is New York.  They are getting closer and closer to actually doing this, it has been in the papers and a high point of discussion when I was going to school for my masters.  Even my professors who have been in the field for 20-30 years now are disgusted by this act in politics when they honestly have no idea what goes on in our classrooms.  I agree with a lot of posts.  We have no control over what goes on in our students' homes and also with the area of special education and mandating that they take the test as well.  When I worked in an inclusive classroom all my test scores were low.  I have also worked in poverty stricken areas.  Some kids test well, some kids do not.  I was a poor test taker when I was younger due to timed tests and anxiety.  This, by no means meant that my teachers were not doing their jobs.  I understood all of the material I just ran out of time.

They should really stick to the was that it has been for a long time.  Pay teachers based on years of experience, schooling and whether or not they have taken the time to get NCBPTS certification.  That's our motivation right there, to be better educators and to strive to keep up on current trends in teaching.  To continue professional development, not so much teach to the test to increase our test scores!

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lrhodes8 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:17 PM (Answer #46)

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Do you think teachers' pay should be based on test scores of students, considering the differences in areas where teachers work?

Race to the Top wants to pay teachers based on test scores. Some teachers (like me) teach in rural, poverty-stricken areas where test scores run low due to lack of parental involvement, high absenteeism, and many other reasons. Some teachers work in areas where parental interest is high, students come from moderate to high-level income families, and test scores are generally higher. Is it fair to base salaries on test scores given those scenarios? Also, give me input on some other fair way to determine teacher salaries.  Should education,  years' experience, national teacher test scores play a role? As a teacher I am interested in hearing what you have to say on this subject.  Thanks for responding!!

I have taught in a variety of settings including elementary, secondary and university levels.  I have also worked with students from a diverse background with regards to socioeconomic level, academic ability and language ability.  When I compare my own teaching performance at these settings I can see those situations and students where I was able to make an incredible impact.  Should I have been paid more for those instances?  I don't think so.  So many elements of being a learning human being are at work in the teaching/learning process.  Should our salary be deducted when we are not able to succeed in helping certain students, who have extremely limited abilities or obstacles to overcome pass an exam that all students are expected to pass? I don't think that would be a fair reason to be penalized.  If that were the case, there would conceivably be poor teachers working with highly motivated and advanced students who would be rewarded financially and excellent teachers working with those "challenging" students who would be penalized.  If those scenarios are possible then that system wouldn't be ethical.  I do believe that teacher's could be rewarded financially by reviewing their student's individual progress and growth in a variety of areas, as well as review their overall contribution to the school and to their profession throughout their career.

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anu160467 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 13, 2010 at 8:28 AM (Answer #47)

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No.  don't think it is worth to tally teacher with the marks a student is gaining.

Better it should be evauated as how much he/she understood the topic practically.

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gusman816 | Middle School Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:16 PM (Answer #48)

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Do you think teachers' pay should be based on test scores of students, considering the differences in areas where teachers work?

Race to the Top wants to pay teachers based on test scores. Some teachers (like me) teach in rural, poverty-stricken areas where test scores run low due to lack of parental involvement, high absenteeism, and many other reasons. Some teachers work in areas where parental interest is high, students come from moderate to high-level income families, and test scores are generally higher. Is it fair to base salaries on test scores given those scenarios? Also, give me input on some other fair way to determine teacher salaries.  Should education,  years' experience, national teacher test scores play a role? As a teacher I am interested in hearing what you have to say on this subject.  Thanks for responding!!

I also think it's unfair to pay teachers based on test scores.  As a special education teacher, many of my students perform terribly on standardized tests developed by our county and the state.  We spend a great deal of time modifying instruction, the curriculum, assignments, etc. so that our students can access the same information as their general education peers.  Until standardized tests are modified in the same way for special ed. students, teachers should not be held accountable for their scores.

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misscorvello | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM (Answer #49)

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Do you think teachers' pay should be based on test scores of students, considering the differences in areas where teachers work?

Race to the Top wants to pay teachers based on test scores. Some teachers (like me) teach in rural, poverty-stricken areas where test scores run low due to lack of parental involvement, high absenteeism, and many other reasons. Some teachers work in areas where parental interest is high, students come from moderate to high-level income families, and test scores are generally higher. Is it fair to base salaries on test scores given those scenarios? Also, give me input on some other fair way to determine teacher salaries.  Should education,  years' experience, national teacher test scores play a role? As a teacher I am interested in hearing what you have to say on this subject.  Thanks for responding!!

 

I think that basing pay on student scores is impractical, especially for teachers who work in high poverty/low-income areas.  What ends up happening is the students don't 'care' about taking the state test, or any test, and I don't think it's fair that teachers should be paid according to that standard--if it was in place, I'd *owe* money to my school! :-)  I think level of education, level of content knowledge, and student engagement/understanding should be assessed to pay teachers...as to how you assess student engagement and understanding, informal chats with a class (with a very visible administrator frequently) gives everyone an idea about what's going on.

 

~Becky C.

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shannonleestuart | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 22, 2010 at 5:04 PM (Answer #50)

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I absolutely do not believe teachers should be paid according to test scores for several reasons all surrounding the children. There are so very many factors that play into a good testing demonstration by students and those factors have so very little to do with the teachers.Everyone seems to be under the assumption that teachers can make a radical difference in the lives of all students and that simply isn't the case. They are not our children to influence that way. Yes, there are always those whom we do influence for the better for the rest of their lives, but we all know that we cannot influence every one of those placed under our care for only 40 weeks (and not even that long before the tests are given). Their parents provide the strongest influence about their feelings toward education, schools, and teachers and those feelings are what determine how they approach things like testing. Then there are things like class size, technology availability, creativity, cooperation from elective teachers and other nontested subject areas that all play into the testng influence and accountability. Sometimes there is more cooperstion between the students than there is between teachers when entire groups decide to 'bomb' the tests in the false hope of destroying a school (hope fed by parents or other children listening to only partial bits of information circulated as gossip from pieces of news stories). If test scores are to be used to pay teachers, t

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annmcd | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted September 29, 2010 at 4:58 PM (Answer #51)

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I am a student at an underprivileged school and i have some very inspirational, motivational and excellent teachers that have helped me through every day of my schooling life - but the majority of the students at the school are unwilling to learn and again, high absenteeism comes into account. The teachers are not to blame for the low test scores of students, and neither are the students really. In a low socio-economically ranking area the parents and society do not encourage personal growth nor are they even able to support their children. Without proper guidance the students are unable to harness their full potential. Many would say a good teacher can reach through to a student, but the sheer amount of unwilling students makes it impossible to have the time for each challanged student. Pay should be based on qualifications or experience. not test scores.

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slpmomof6 | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted October 4, 2010 at 7:41 PM (Answer #52)

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No, no, no!  I am so against this!  Teacher's pay should not be based on student test scores!  I think that the teacher's are already made to teach toward I-step scores too much.  I honestly think this is detrimental to the children truly learning all they can in a good learning environment.  Paying teacher's based on test scores will just cause this to become worse. 

I also believe that even if you have the best teacher ever, the results of that teacher's work may not even be seen until the next year when the child tests again.  It is also very well known that test scores are highly correlated with IQ.  How is that a teacher's fault if they are an awesome teacher with a class full of children with low IQ's?

Personally, I believe that the teaching profession should be run like the Speech Therapy profession.  Our demand is high because of it and our pay is better than teachers.  For speech therapy, you have to have a Masters before you can even see a client professionally.  You also do internships like teachers.  In order to get into the Masters program, you must have a very high GPA as well as other high standards.  The Master's programs only let in a few each year.  In education, there are so many people who go through and get a Bachelors degree that I think the field becomes watered down and all the teachers are not the best they could be.

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v10lets | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted October 12, 2010 at 5:17 PM (Answer #53)

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The levels of inequality that exist in the US are virtually without precedent in history. The past four decades have seen a shocking growth of inequality. In the 1970s, the top 1 percent of the population took in about 8 to 9 percent of annual income. By 2007, its share had soared to 23.5 percent, a level not seen since the 1920s, on the eve of the Great Depression. During this same period, 58 percent of all income growth has gone to the top one percent of the population, and 35 percent to the top one-tenth of one percent. Income for the bottom 60 percent of the population declined by about 5 percent.

I attach statistics on the current level of inequality in the US. How can any discussion of education outcomes ignore such staggering figures?

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