Confused about Pay being based on tests

Discussion in 'General Education' started by meeper22, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    Dec 27, 2011

    I didn't realize this until last night but I recall how in FL, the government was trying to pass a bill that made teacher's pay based on test scores. I remember teachers protesting about it but I haven't heard much about it since then, I think it passed, I honestly don't remember.

    Anyway, I am confused as to how that works. If all your students fail a test, like you did try your best to teach the material, get them ready for the test, you did everything right but all the students fail the test and didn't care, would the school not pay you at all? Like if all or a majority of your students fail, does the school you work at just not pay you and you end up having to work for free till scores go up?

    Or do they just fire you if all students flunk the test?

    Don't tell me having every student fail a test is impossible because I know a first year teacher that actually happened to, every one of her students failed her first test, this was before that bill passed.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Even if all the students in your class failed the standardized test, you would still get paid your base salary. Now you may find that you are out of a job next year though.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Houston ISD tried this and it was a dismal failure. It resulted in unprecedented cheating by teachers (encouraged and supported by administrators), horrible morale, unethical treatment of special ed students, and a total abandonment of the state curriculum with a focus solely on "teaching to the test" in the worst way possible.
     
  6. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    So, if your classes are stocked with the bottom-of-the-barrel students, your salary and job are in BIG trouble. They couldn't care less about how they perform on tests like that, or academics in general, for that matter.

    :eek:
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I don't know about Florida. The article posted discusses "merit pay" which for us has always been more like a bonus for test scores (although I wouldn't know since early childhood, primary, special ed and specials teachers are ineligible). Now, next year 50% of our evaluation will be based on test scores-which I think is really scary considering the tests they use to judge that. We don't know any real details yet, but considering the goal is 100% passing, my guess is having even just a certain percentage fail will be unacceptable.

    reality-- yes, that's true. A class heavily ESL or with Special Ed kids (integrated into the regular clasroom) are not taken into consideration either. It's really scary that so many schools are heading in this direction. One test taken one day is the majority of your yearly evaluation and will determine whether or not you will have a job next year.
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Dec 27, 2011

    A teacher in a neighboring district achieved the golden 100% on the standardized test a couple of years ago. The district made a big deal out of it, as you might imagine. I eventually had an opportunity to observe the teacher and study their methods.

    Let's just say our teaching philosophies were VEEEEERY different.

    If that is what it takes to achieve 100%, I'll just accept the base pay and continue teaching kids how to understand and apply the material rather than how to score well on the test. If I do the first one well enough, the second should take care of itself.
     
  9. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    Dec 27, 2011

    That's horrible, you shouldn't teach kids just to pass a test.

    Sorry if I wasn't supposed to post this in another board since I posted in the substitute teacher board but I thought this was more of a "General Education" question.

    I knew not having a job next year is more likely but I was just wondering if they wouldn't pay you at all with students flunking your tests and if that were possible, I would have to try to look for another job in terms of getting money for bills.

    I mean I would love to teach kids math to be more prepared in the real world but I can't live without money...who could right?
     
  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I'm at a charter school. Our bonus is partly based on test scores. Currently, it's a combination of the state test & the tests that our authorizing agency requires. The difference is that it is based upon the entire school, not an individual classroom.
     
  11. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    What is scary is when you have kids that are both developmentally delayed and English Language Learners! I have several in my self contained classroom. They receive 20 minutes three times a week with the ELL teacher. The ELL teacher pulls them at the end of the day when they are antsy and down learning for the day.) They receive 40 minutes 5 days a week with the special Ed. Teacher if she shows up. (She averages pulling them out of my room about three times a week.)I am screwed if my state bases my pay or future employment on their test scores:(
     
  12. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I know of a school (not district but school) that is not teaching science for one year because that grade level is not being tested in science. The teacher that teaches science is going to teach another backup class of math. A year later the students will be tested in Science...now that Science teacher is going to have to play catch-up. Message sent testing is all important...more important then the kids.

    In my former state the Utah basic skills competency test (UBSCT) the state test one needed to graduate has been stopped. It was stopped several years ago. As far as I know there isn't one to replace it. I would like to know how one state can do that. Do they give up federal dollars??

    Edit: I looked this up. ***The UBSCT graduation requirement was suspended for a period of two years during the 2010 Utah Legislative session. Currently it is unknown if the UBSCT will be reinstituted or replaced by an alternative assessment.***
     
  13. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    In my charter school, we get our base salary no matter what, but our increases and occasional bonus are tied to several performance indicators. Some of them are based on our Teacher Observation Reports but others are based on our school's test scores.

    Personally, basing pay on the standardized tests makes me nervous. I teach 12th grade and my students have all passed at least Reading and Writing. Nothing I do affects the pass rate of the tests, but I have a huge influence over our graduation rate (another something Ohio monitors).
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I would think districts would make accommodations for this. I know that the kids with learning challenges were pulled from my class and had their standardized test administered by our SPED teacher, to meet their accommodation requirements. Most of them needed to take the test a second time, but the majority of them did pass after the 2nd attempt.

    After seeing just a portion of the philosophy and techniques used by the other teacher, I know I will NOT sacrifice the best education I can give the kids on the material in exchange for higher test scores and passing percentages. If that means I stay at base pay forever, so be it.

    As for pay being based on the tests, there is no way the state could pay you NOTHING for the work you do, they just wouldn't give you any raises or bonuses. If your passing rates were not acceptable, then there is the possibility they would simply not renew your contract for the following year.

    Fortunately, our state has finally realized (through research) that standardized testing does NOT ensure the quality education it was designed for. While kids are still tested at the regular intervals, the test is just another assessment tool and is no longer used to determine if a student will pass or fail that grade level as it did in years past. Well, actually, it still didn't really determine pass or fail. Kids that failed just had to take two weeks of Summer School and were then passed on to the next grade anyway most of the time.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Just one year? Try no science, social studies, art, PE, or music in K-3 at all ever. It's what happens when they decide to go to a 3 hour language arts block and a 1.5 hour math block and don't extend the school day. Why? Because K-3 only gets tested in language arts and math.

    Welcome to California.
     
  16. MATgrad

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    I teach self-contained Special Ed. The students I work with will take a year to learn how to button pants. I'm in Florida and have yet to meet a person that can answer how it will affect me. It scares me to death. I love working with these kids and very few people are willing to do it. However, if I get a bad evaluation because they don't do well on the Alternate Assessment then I'm done with Special Ed. I have to feed my family too.

    I know many special ed teachers that are thinking of leaving special ed and know of one that already has left. Dark times are ahead.
     
  17. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Dec 27, 2011

    So, Florida: Pay for Performance.

    Basically, your evaluation is now based 1/2 on administrator observations & evaluations and 1/2 on FCAT/EOC (End of Course) scores.

    With the FCAT, your students have to show GROWTH, not necessarily pass the test. A low Level 1 student is most likely not going to make 600 points gain in one year to be on grade level - but it DOES matter that they make 100 points in gains (considered AYP).

    I'm not sure how the EOC scores will work yet - I wrote my own EOC for my elective course (had to get it approved by the DO), and I'll be scoring the tests myself but sending the results to my district. I have no idea if that one will work on a pass/fail principle or not.

    And, of course, there's no little box on the FCAT/EOC to check for "Didn't sleep well," "Dog died last night," "Sick," etc.

    ETA: Based on your total score for the evaluation (administrator evals and test scores), you'll be ranked Highly Effective, Effective, Needs Improvement, or Unsatisfactory (I believe). Only those ranked highly Effective are eligible for merit pay - which is unfunded and looks to stay that way.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    My district uses pay for perfomance. I honestly can't tell you how it affects me, because the irony of the whole situation is that the district doesn't have money to pay raises anyway, so no matter how we perform we're still taking cuts. My district implemented this program a few years ago, and is nationally recognized for it. We have master and mentor teachers who take part in evaluating, and they get paid a lot more than regular teachers (mentors get paid about 6,000 more and masters about 12,000 more). In our "lower school" (k-5) we have one master and two mentors and 12 "regular" teachers. My district doesn't want to stop the program because they spent so much time and money implementing it, and have all this recognition- but I feel like I'm the only one that sees the great irony in it all- if they weren't paying all these huge bonuses for being masters/mentors, they could afford to pay us raises as normal! 50% is based on evaluations from these people. We have our "base pay" that you get no matter what. Then you get your "performance pay" as a bonus at the end of the year and that would also be your "step up" (for your new "base pay") for the following year. Really, if they actually did it, a good teacher could make a lot more than they would on a step system. The problem is they can't afford to do it.

    50% is also based on test scores. Really, I don't think the way my district does this is that bad. It's based on the whole building, so I don't have to worry about being a special ed teacher. Gen ed teachers don't have to worry about having my kids or kids in ESL in their classes. It's also based on improvement, not just passing. My school is high poverty/very high ESL whereas most other schools in the district are no esl/high wealth. Even though we were the lowest performing, we had a lot of room to grow so we had grown a lot from the previous year. We actually would have gotten (had they been able to afford it) a bigger bonus based on our growth rate then the school that has always been in the 90s percentile wise on tests.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Your special education students can retake their standardized tests? When do the results come in to determine if that's necessary? We wait months for results.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Shocking every time I read it.
     
  21. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Our End-of-Grade (EOG) tests are given during the last month of the school year (obviously). The tests are scored within a few days. Students making a "3" or "4" are considered "passing". Those that scored a "1" or "2" are given 1-2 days of remedial review, then take the test again.
     
  22. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Groupie

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    Exactly. Not too many students fail tests because they learn too much. Perhaps some day those in charge will come to realize money invested in process will do far more good than money invested in product.
     
  23. 2ndTimeAround

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    I had 100% proficiency last year. I believe my methods are sound. However, my only tested classes were filled with honors students. Half of those students came into the course knowing most of the curriculum already. While I can take pride in knowing I prepared them well for their next science classes, I know I can't take total credit for their scores.

    I expect only half of my students will be proficient this year. I've already been called on the carpet about that. But when you have students that have missed 48 days, are pregnant, are in and out of jail, who have IQs in the low 70s,who openly admit they only come to school to deal drugs, etc., the numbers aren't going to be that good. Even the students that *should* be able to succeed are going to drown when their classmates fall into the above categories. But, somehow, it is all my fault that so many are failing.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I get the EOC scores the afternoon of the test. I usually have to wait until 4:30 or so to get them. It is great because I can call the parents of any students that failed it and get the kids back into school the next day for remediation.

    Remediation is a joke though. I'm not allowed to ask the student what they did not feel comfortable with on the test. I can only go over the course goals and objectives and hope that I get a clue as to what the student may have faltered on.
     
  25. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Ditto in Ohio! We still have art, music and PE, but science and social studies are "back burner". The district's funding from the state depends on scores from reading and math up to 8th grade. So....the kids are bored and crave whatever science and social studies we can toss into our crazy schedule,and the teacher's morale is low. We are told to incorporate science and social studies into our reading program-in other words, read books on the standard's topics for your grade level.
     
  26. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    That is how I feel when one particular year I do very well, and the admin expects it to happen each year. Different kids result in different test scores. I do adapt my teaching style each year with each group of kids to fit their needs, but I am still teaching the same material. For example, two years ago I had high scores (not 100% proficiency, but 80% in both reading and math). Last year's class was lower academically. They struggled with everything-and even though they were a wonderful group of kids, I knew they would not perform as the year before. Sure enough, my reading dropped to 60% (still recognized by admin because 3/4 of my class was reading 2 grade levels below 5th grade) and math dropped to 35%. (in all fairness, 8 kids scored within 8 points of passing, so they really tried their hardest-I hate the number 400 when a student receives a 396 and doesn't pass!)
     
  27. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    They are allowed to use their regular accommodations, however, these students are still being tested on their regular grade level. So a student with a learning disability reading on a 2nd grade level in 5th grade is never going to be able to pass that test. If you have 5 of those kids in your class.....Plus there are so many kids out there not being tested and identified officially because that system is just so messed up. So you can have a kid who you know has some sort of disability but if you can't get through all the red tape before March when they test, they won't be eligible for any accommodations.
     

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