Why Merit Pay Fails to Improve Schools

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Apr 11, 2012.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Apr 14, 2012

    Someone posted that we are able to evaluate students, so we should be evaluated ourselves.

    If any administrator wants to give me a 100 question multiple choice test like my students get at the end of the year, I'd be all for taking it as an evaluation.

    I'd even do an essay question, make copies of my lesson plans, whatever. But just like an actress on stage or a painter, my skill as a professional could not be gauged by a simple exam.

    *MY* students are tested on their knowledge and understanding of my subject. If the general public thinks that KNOWING how to teach is all that's needed, then fine, let's go down that road. Having a knowledge base and putting those skills into practice are too different things. If they weren't then every armchair quarterback would be on Monday night football.
     
  2. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Apr 14, 2012


    a wonderful post. However people seem to accept Streep/DeNiro as great performers while thinking less of the people in the local community theatre's production of Fiddler on the Roof. Same with the ribbon winners in the county fair art contest vs. Rembrandt/Picasso. As said earlier in this thread, we all know & agree on who the good/bad/ & ugly performers are in our own building. In other words, while ability may be hard to put into a "rubric" it is not all that hard to rate.
     
  3. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Apr 14, 2012

    What's also interesting is that states with the highest union membership produce much higher test scores than the states with lower union membership. Also, looking at the highest performing countries in the world, those are nearly all 100% unionized.

    It could be argued that union membership raises student test scores.


    _______________________________________________
    favorite blogs: http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com/ and http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 15, 2012

    ANYTHING could be argued. That doesn't necessarily make it true.

    Correlation does NOT equal Causation.
     
  5. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Apr 15, 2012

    My wife is a testament to that adage.
    Schooling is a body of work. The classroom is a stage.
    We are just the teacher, preacher, counselor, referee,
    nurse, cheerleader, confidant, day parent, encourage r,
    friend, etc. Our job is to bring enlightenment, safety, confidence, knowledge, hope, enthusiasm, comfort, joy,
    reality, etc to those that need it, want it, avoid it, or
    have no clue about it. If you can evaluate all that you
    are underpaid (like most of us).
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I would argue that the regions where teacher unions are active have a higher percentage of educated parents and higher incomes.
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 15, 2012

    Part of the reason Streep/Deniro and Rembrandt/Picasso are considered great in their field is because we have been TOLD they are great. Streep and Deniro have each won multiple awards for their acting, but that doesn't mean every body agrees or likes the acting they do.

    I think art is even more subjective. Artists generally are not considered "great" until declared so by a famous or well-known art critic. By the same token, aspiring artists can have their careers made or broken by a critic's review. If the critic says their work is great, then it must be true. Same thing if the critic doesn't like the work.

    On the other hand, our district does have a rubric for grading teachers, just like most other districts. There are 4-5 "standards" and several elements for each standard. We are graded on each element and the evaluation is an aggregate of these scores, so it is possible to score Partially Proficient on 1 or 2 elements, yet still be graded Proficient overall on the Standard. The observations also give admin a chance to evaluate classroom management, student engagement, etc. I had one student that constantly made random remarks during the class, just to get attention. The admin recorded every comment, the time it was made and my response. When we went over my evaluation, those constant interruptions reflected much more on the student than on me since it was obvious what the student was doing.

    I would much rather be evaluated in this manner than on my test scores since our population of students are often very apathetic about school in general. I'm doing everything I can to improve both their interest and their knowledge, but there is still a good chance that none of them will pass the standardized test because even the ones that DO care just seem to have a hard time understanding some of the basic concepts. Their test scores will be part of my overall evaluation. There is nothing I can do about that except try to get them as prepared as possible. If my entire evaluation depended on their scores, my rating would likely be very low indeed.

    I understand the problem with subjective evaluations. When I worked at the hospital as a manager, I received positive evaluations and a commensurate raise every year, but I also received the same admonishment every year; "You need to improve your job". When I would ask for specifics on what parts of my performance needed to improve, the admin would just say "You need to do a better job than you've been doing" and I was left to figure out on my own what parts of the job he might be referring to.
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Apr 15, 2012

    Cerek-I thought the same thing. I don't know enough about those 2 artists-but many artists only got acclaim after they died anyway-no one would buy their work when it was painted. I bet many out there in the general public would choose to buy a paint-by-numbers type picture by a local artist-that's what they like-that's the subjectivity. I actually don't think DeNiro is one of the best out there right now-I mean what has he done lately of quality? Streep has been nominated for awards a lot more often than she's won them. It all comes down to taste.

    But I also agree I would rather be evaluated that way-at least then you do have control over the outcome where with testing you often don't. Our new evaluation process has been tons more work this year (we have 22 standards and criteria for each) having to justify everything we do, but at least we can make a case for ourselves.

    NCScience-I have a problem with that theory because Texas doesn't have active unions at all and believe me there are areas of very educated, wealthy parents.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

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    Apr 15, 2012

    yes, areas. But I'd also argue that those areas are where the children do better on the testing than the areas where parents aren't as involved, educated or financially stable (immediate economic crisis excluded).

    My school has extremely high test scores. And lower than normal free lunch recipients. We do not have a union. But my state is in the south and we do have lower scores than less rural states.
     
  10. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Apr 15, 2012

    That was me. Here you go....

    The Surprising Truth About What Really Motivates Us.

    Realize that this was a study done not just on education, but on all jobs. The study was the result of nearly 20 colleges conducted by their departments of economics. The results of the study were reported by Dan Pink in his award winning book Drive.
     
  11. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Apr 16, 2012

    This is so true. This has happened to me. At my last district, my AP was a former math teacher--she would come observe during my theatre classes--I had three different levels of theatre in the room, and there was always movement and activity going on. She always claimed my classroom was out of control, and once, when I asked her what she wanted to see, she said she wanted to see them sitting in desks working quietly in groups or raising their hands for a group discussion. I told her that while we did this some days, it was generally not conducive to a hands-on class like theatre, she said, then your class is out of control.

    I like open forum discussions--my classroom is set up that we don't need to raise hands, we just discuss respectfully--but I've been told that's not the right way to do it by some administrators.

    Come in and watch anytime you want--but don't just stay for five minutes--watch the whole class--see the whole picture--compare a testing day to a discusison day to a group project day--ask the kids some questions about the class and about me--don't just look at my test scores!
     
  12. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Apr 16, 2012

    Your AP was clueless and that is why most instruments for assessment suck, especially for the non traditional subjects.
     
  13. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Apr 16, 2012

    Are you saying that, if you could be a fly on the wall in a class, YOU (as an reasonable adult) couldn't readily assess a teacher's quality based solely on your observations... no complex rubrics or methods? You must be kidding.

    It's that easy.

    Now I'm not advocating spies or video cameras installed in classes as a way to assess... And yes, we have plenty of people in administration who are about as sharp as a bag or marbles. But the notion that we need some "scientific and systematic" method of evaluation is part of the problem, and as I said--feeds the problem of overworking that teachers suffer.

    There does need to be a "system." But it certainly doesn't/shouldn't be especially complex or formal.
     
  14. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Apr 16, 2012

    Ahh, this discussion is why I look forward to a different field of work. A field where there is no question as to whether or not you are doing your job. Simply go in to work, and if you get done what you are suppose to do, then you are doing your job. Yes, every job mistakes can be made, but if there is a specific way to do things and you know what that is everday, makes things much less stressful.
     

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