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...

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!!

Asked on by momtroll04

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crmhaske's profile pic

crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

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.

crmhaske's profile pic

crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

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.

crmhaske's profile pic

crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

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.

ajmchugh's profile pic

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

Posted on

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. 

kristenfusaro's profile pic

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

Posted on

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.

dano7744's profile pic

dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

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.

crmhaske's profile pic

crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

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.

crmhaske's profile pic

crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

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.

kristenfusaro's profile pic

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

Posted on

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.

linda-allen's profile pic

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

Posted on

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.

dastice's profile pic

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

Posted on

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.

shaketeach's profile pic

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

Posted on

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.

 

   

MaudlinStreet's profile pic

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

Posted on

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.

flamingogirl's profile pic

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

Posted on

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.

tresvivace's profile pic

tresvivace | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

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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