Last week the National Academies of Science published a synthesis of 10 years worth of research on 15 American test-based incentive programs, finding they demonstrated few good results and a lot of negative unintended consequences.
Meanwhile, the National Center on Education and the Economy reported that high-achieving nations have focused on reforming their teacher education and professional development pipelines, not on efforts to measure student “growth” and tie such numbers to individual teachers.
Today, a paper coauthored by the Asia Society and the Department of Education itself calls Singapore a model for teacher evaluation. That nation’s teachers are assessed on four “holistic” qualities, including the “character development of their students” and “their relationship to community organizations and to parents.” There is no attempt to create a mathematical formula to tie student test scores to teacher evaluation or pay.
Lastly, even the free-market American Enterprise Institute has a new paper, by Fairfax County, Virginia Superintendent Jack Dale, arguing that the path forward should be differentiated pay based on teams of teachers taking on additional mentoring, curriculum development, and planning responsibilities. Test-based merit pay plans “miss a crucial point: teaching must be a collaborative team effort, and incentivizing individual teachers will not accomplish our ambitious goal,” Dale writes.
(but incentivizing is a word that should be avoided)