ERIC Number: EJ994559
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 29
Pay for Performance: Whose Performance?
Tienken, Christopher H.
Kappa Delta Pi Record, v47 n4 p152-154 2011
Education reform proposals are not in short supply. Recent issues of the "Kappa Delta Pi Record" examined two of these: Common Core State Standards (Winter 2011) and Charter Schools (Spring 2011). Teacher pay for performance is another policy gaining traction in state legislatures and at the federal level. The Race to the Top (RTTT) federal grant proposal requires states to link the evaluations and pay of school administrators and teachers to student performance. In response to the myopic focus placed on test scores by state education officials, school district leaders, in some cases, have resorted to test-gaming practices. Among these are holding back low-achieving students instead of promoting them into a grade level with an important mandated test, and counseling large numbers of students to drop out and pursue a GED prior to a high school exit exam. In some school districts, the results from state standardized tests provide little real information about student learning. The results are skewed because they are produced through intensive test preparation, lax truancy enforcement during testing cycles, yearly changes to state proficiency cut points, increased dropout rates in urban areas, moving and shifting of students among schools so their scores do not count, dis-enrolling students at test time, and other practices that have little to do with quality education practices, but have been known to raise aggregate test scores. The author suggests that educators and policy makers who support pay for performance need to step back, slow down, ask more questions, and not accept the superficial answers coming from governors, state legislators, and others who neither understand the statistical intricacies nor care to learn.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Exit Examinations, Educational Quality, Standardized Tests, Federal Aid, Educational Change, Urban Areas, Legislators, Merit Pay, Public Officials, Scores, Dropouts, High School Equivalency Programs, High Stakes Tests
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Race to the Top