ERIC Number: EJ994592
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 21
Performance Pay Path to Improvement
Gratz, Donald B.
Kappa Delta Pi Record, v47 n4 p156-161 Sum 2011
The primary goal of performance pay for the past decade has been higher test scores, and the most prominent strategy has been to increase teacher performance through financial incentives. If teachers are rewarded for success, according to this logic, they will try harder. If they try harder, more children will achieve higher test scores. The evidence tends not to support this theory, but it has dominated policy discussions and experiments in states and large districts for at least a decade. Research bears out the theoretical weakness of motivation-driven approaches to teacher compensation, though these still hold sway among many policy makers. At the same time, more thoughtful and comprehensive initiatives are appearing on all sides of the political and organizational spectrum, including teacher unions. There is reason to hope that a more reasonable and effective approach to evaluation, compensation, and school success will be developed. The author points out that students, families, and society will be better served by a focus on "student success"--broadly defined--than by student achievement as determined by test scores. Creativity and innovation are the attributes most associated with American economic success, not test scores (Tienken 2008), and children achieve these not just by being taught, but by being encouraged and allowed to grow. Most importantly, a focus on individual student success builds on student strengths, talents, and interests, creating a diversity that will help the country grow stronger. When teachers are evaluated constructively and supported with professional development opportunities, they are better able to help their students succeed.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Educational Opportunities, Evidence, Incentives, Teaching Methods, Unions, Merit Pay, Scores, Faculty Development, Creativity, Educational Innovation, Educational Objectives, Goal Orientation, Teacher Motivation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; Race to the Top