Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Standardized Testing and Merit Pay

I have been in many discussions regarding merit pay for teachers and that they should be based on the scores of standardized questions of their students. Many of us feel we can be responsible for any learning received prior to arriving in a classroom. But I wonder, could a standardized test be issued at the beginning of school year and another at the end of the school year to determine the learning of that particular year. Would that be a compromise for those who want the merit raise based on performance?


Darren said...

NO, it would not be a compromise, because the people against merit pay don't want it because of philosophical reasons, not practical reasons.

If, however, you're going to have a merit pay system, I don't know how you could do it well and *not* have a "value added" approach. The state of Tennessee did a lot of work with "value added" a few years ago but I think money dried up. A Google search might give you some more information.

Just learned about your blog because I saw a referral to my own from here via my StatCounter. I like what I see here.

12RedRoses4U said...

Some of schools do have fall and spring testing.

That said, in this case would it be the same test in the fall and spring to determine the learning? What if the score went down? What does that mean? More test? Did the student ummm unlearn?

Does a score that goes up actual mean the student learned because of the teacher? Or because the student progessed to that stage of learning where it finally all came together for them?

What about classrooms with lots of inclusion students do those teacher deserve more? Do you split merit with support staff in that case? Or give tha support their own merit pay? Or would it only apply to the teacher?

There are just a few questions that come to mind in just a few minutes about this very complicated issue and why I have been unable to make a decision on the issue.

Sunshine said...

My kids district does have fall and spring testing.
I have thought it would be a good indication of how well the teacher did that year, but after reading your points, I think I have to reconsider. I had never thought about students on an IEP, or student's who are pulled out for extra time with specialists. That is a good point.

J said...

I think this kind of testing would be a limited gauge on teacher performance because standardized tests are limited. The reality of every classroom is that the students aren't little robots capable of taking in and spitting out every bit of information that the teacher embeds into their heads. What exactly is the definition of merit? Does a teacher deserve to be rewarded because he/she spend the school year drilling students to perform well on a standardized test while paying no attention to the million and one other important things that kids need to learn in school?