Vanderbilt study: Merit pay for teachers improves student performance

A new study from Vanderbilt University concludes, as Education Week puts it, that “merit pay for teachers can lead to higher test scores for students.”

Vandy’s study points to an interesting policy idea for merit pay. Click the “Read more” link to learn about that.

[Read more…]

Unable to be evaluated?

Teacher evaluation, merit based pay, and the role of standardized tests are all hot topics in the education community. Nick Gillespie of the Reason Foundation recently wrote an interesting piece on teacher evaluations. A couple of quotes that stuck out to me:

Teachers consistently argue that, like doctors and lawyers, they are professionals who deserve the respect of everyone and even more money than they already make. Yet in the same breath, teachers are always asserting that their profession is uniquely incapable of being evaluated in any sort of meaningful and fair way.

No punches pulled there.

…arguing that it’s so impossible to control for variables that we can’t judge teacher performance is no way to lobby for more resources or be taken seriously. Especially since school systems have gotten more and more money per pupil for decades now without improving outcomes.

Teacher performance evaluation is, I’m sure, an issue we can expect to hear more about in the future.


Today’s version of ‘Kentucky Behind and Looking Forward to Staying that Way’: Refusing to hold teachers accountable

Look on the list of nearly half of states that now use student test scores to evaluate teachers, and you will not find Kentucky.

But you will find:

* Four of Kentucky’s seven neighboring states among the 17 states and Washington, D.C. that use test scores as a meaningful factor in evaluating teachers.

* Dennis Van Roekel, chief boss of the USA’s largest teachers’ union, talking about why it can’t be done. Van Roekel argues that “value-added measures are too unreliable to serve as the chief factor in evaluating teachers,” according to Yahoo News.

But don’t bother telling Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee that. They’re already doing it.