Tag Archives: Merit Pay

Study: Teacher merit pay works in some situations

27 Jul

Teacher compensation is a hot education topic. The role of evaluations in compensation, merit pay, pay based upon credentials and higher pay for specialty areas are all hot topics and hot button issues. The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond. In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities  Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve….

Download this report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise Marguerite Roza and Sarah Yatsko from the University of Washington’s Centeron Reinventing Education have an interesting February 2010 policy brief.

In Beyond Teacher Reassignments: Better Ways School Districts Can Remedy Salary Inequities Across Schools Districts Roza and Yatsko report:

This brief addresses this concern by demonstrating that districts would NOT need to mandatorily reassign teachers. It shows that there are other ways to restructure allocations that do not systematically shortchange the neediest schools. Discussed here are four options that districts could pursue to remedy school spending inequities created by uneven salaries:

  • Option 1: Apply teacher salary bonuses to some schools to balance salaries

  • Option 2: Vary class size across schools to level spending

  • Option 3: Concentrate specialist and support staff in schools with lower-salaried teachers

  • Option 4: Equalize per-pupil dollar allocations

Download Full Report (PDF: 736 K)

Of all the issues about teacher compensation, one of the hottest is “merit pay.”

Dylan Matthews writes in the Washington Post article, Does teacher merit pay work? A new study says yes:

There’s very good evidence that teacher quality matters a lot in terms of student performance in school and success later on in life. The economist Raj Chetty of Harvard, for example, has found that students randomly placed with more experienced kindergarten teachers not only perform better on tests but earn more and save more for retirement as adults, are likelier to go to college, and go to better colleges than their peers with less experienced teachers. Eric Hanushek of Stanford estimates that a good teacher – defined as at the 84th percentile, or one standard deviation above the mean for you stats nerds – provides students with test scores associated with an increase of between $22,000 and $46,000 in lifetime earnings.

Findings like these lead some to favor “merit pay” regimes that include student test scores as a determinant of teachers’ salaries. This has met opposition from teachers’ unions and testing skeptics, who argue that it would result in teaching-to-the-test at the expense of actual learning. For a long time, the data has been mixed on merit pay. Two studies from Mathematica Policy Research in 2010 that found little benefit, while a study in Nashville found mild benefits for fifth graders but none for other students.

That has changed with the publication of a new paper (pdf) by Harvard’s Roland Fryer, the University of Chicago’s Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) and John List, and UC San Diego’s Sally Sadoff. The authors went into nine K-8 schools in Chicago Heights, a city 30 miles south of Chicago, and randomly selected teachers (who had to consent, which 93.75 percent did) to take part in a merit pay scheme. The students affected were overwhelmingly low-income, with 98 percent receiving free or subsidized lunches. Teachers in the experiment were offered $80 per percentile improvement in student test scores, for a maximum reward of $8,000, compared to a typical teacher salary of $50,000.

The authors split teachers in the study into a control group, who were not offered any rewards, a “gain” group, which was promised rewards of up to $8,000 at the end of the school year, and a “loss” group, which was given $4,000 upfront and asked to pay back any rewards they did not earn. The idea behind the latter group was that loss aversion should motivate teachers to perform better than they would if they only stood to gain more money. Additionally, the gain and loss groups were split, with a “team” group being rewarded on the basis of theirs and fellow teachers’ test scores, and the “individual” group being reward only on the basis of their own scores. The conclusion: it worked, and it worked almost twice as well when the money was given at the start and then taken away…. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/23/does-teacher-merit-pay-work-a-new-study-says-yes/

One might ask why “merit pay’ seemed to work in the situation studied?

Jordan Weissmann writes a provocative analysis of the study in the Atlantic article, A Very Mean (But Maybe Brilliant) Way to Pay Teachers:

But Levitt, Fryer and Co. argue that there’s a serious problem with merit pay. So far, they say, there’s been scant evidence that it actually works. Studies of teacher incentive programs in Tennessee and New York City failed to find any signs that they improved student learning. In the New York experiment, which Harvard’s Fryer conducted, the impact may have even been detrimental. 

Enter loss aversion. The authors theorized that instead of offering a lump-sum bonus to teachers come summertime, it might be more effective to give instructors money upfront, then warn them that they would have to pay it back if their students didn’t hit the proper benchmarks. Rather than tap into teachers’ ambition, they’d tap into their anxiety.

To test their idea, the authors designed an experiment for the 2010-2011 school year involving 150 K-8 teachers from Chicago Heights, a low-income community in Illinois. The instructors were randomly assigned to a control group or one of two main bunches, which I’ll shorthand as the “winners” and the “losers.” The winners agreed to work under a traditional year-end bonus structure, where they could make up to $8,000 extra based on their students’ standardized test scores. The losers were given $4,000 off the bat and informed that if their students’ turned in below-average results, they’d have to pay a portion of it back commensurate with just how poor their scores were. On the flip side, an above-average performance could earn them additional bonus money, up to the full $8,000. 

The authors then divided the winners and losers again so that some teachers would be rewarded based on their results as a group, and others would be rewarded based on their results as individuals. 

Come vacation time, the losers had won. In math, paying teachers a year-end bonus had no statistically significant effect. When teachers had money to lose, though, their students over performed. The impact was large — the equivalent of improving a teacher’s skills by one full standard deviation — and the pattern held whether teachers were compensated as a group or as individuals. The authors’ data on reading scores turned out to be shakier, since most students ultimately had more than one instructor working with them on language skills, but it indicated a similar trend. 

In short, they found that merit pay can work. You just have to be tricky, and a little bit mean, with how you implement it…. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/a-very-mean-but-maybe-brilliant-way-to-pay-teachers/260234/#.UBHCJts3U6I.email

Citation:

Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment*

Roland G. Fryer, Jr.

Harvard University

Steven D. Levitt

The University of Chicago

John List

The University of Chicago

Sally Sadoff

University of California San Diego

Abstract

Domestic attempts to use financial incentives for teachers to increase student achievement have been ineffective. In this paper, we demonstrate that exploiting the power of loss aversion—teachers are paid in advance and asked to give back the money if their students do not improve sufficiently—increases math test scores between 0.201 (0.076) and 0.398 (0.129) standard deviations. This is equivalent to increasing teacher

quality by more than one standard deviation. A second treatment arm, identical to the loss aversion treatment but implemented in the standard fashion, yields smaller and statistically insignificant results. This suggests it is loss aversion, rather than other features of the design or population sampled, that leads to the stark differences between our findings and past research. 

What the various studies seem to point out is there is no one remedy which works in all situations and that there must be a menu of education options.

Resources:

A Lively Debate Over Teacher Salaries                         http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/05/a-lively-debate-over-teacher-salaries/

Are Teachers Overpaid?                                                http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/02/are-teachers-overpaid/

Some Teachers Skeptical of Merit Pay                   http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/13/some-teachers-skeptical-of-merit-pay/

Related:

Washington D.C. rolls out merit pay                  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/washington-d-c-rolls-out-merit-pay/

Report from The Compensation Technical Working Group: Teacher compensation in Washington                   https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/teacher-recruitment/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

New Idaho education law: ‘Students Come First’

12 Jan

High quality teachers are teacher who produce academic achievement in THEIR POPULATION of kids. Kids arrive at school at different points on the ready to learn continuum. High quality teachers are able to work with THEIR POPULATION of children and move them along the continuum of academic achievement. Idaho has passed a new law with the intent of putting more high quality teachers in the classroom. AP is reporting the story, Idaho teacher evaluations to include parent input which was printed in the Idaho Statesman.

At least half of an Idaho teacher’s job evaluation will be based on student achievement starting July 1, and what parents think will count too.

The state Department of Education plans to ask lawmakers Wednesday to clarify when parental involvement will factor into the evaluations of educators and school administrators. The change was part of an education overhaul signed into law last year.

Under the plan introduced by public schools chief Tom Luna, at least 50 percent of all teaching evaluations performed after June 30 will be tied to the academic performance of students. But to some, the law was unclear as to when the parents become involved.

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/01/11/1948842/idaho-teacher-evaluations-to-include.html?story_link=email_msg#storylink=cpy

Parent involvement is just one change in a ambitious new Idaho education law.

The Idaho Department of Education has information about the new law, “Students Come First” at its site.

Among the highlights of the new law, “Students Come First” which can be found at the following Link to Idaho Department of Education: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/   are new

Teacher and Principal Evaluations

We know that the most important factor in a student’s education is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Why leave this to chance? Students Come First ties at least 50% of a teacher and administrator’s evaluations to growth in student achievement. To read more about Idaho’s framework for teacher evaluation, please click here.

Students Come First also requires parent input on teacher and school-based administrator evaluations.

http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/teacherEval/

http://www.studentscomefirst.org/evaluations.htm

Teacher Evaluation Forms, Templates and Resources

Daneilson – Interview Protocol for a Postconference

Danielson – Informal Classroom Observations

Danielson – Evaluation Schedule

Danielson – Formal Classroom Observation Form

Danielson – Handout Cover Sheet

Danielson – Identifying the Domains Handout

Danielson – Individual Professional Development Plan

Danielson – Notes from Observation

Danielson – Responsibilities within the Formal Observation Process

Danielson – Sample Evaluator Letter

Danielson – Sample of Artifacts

Danielson – The Placemat Quadrant of Four Domains

Comparison of State Adopted Standards to Danielson’s Framework

There is also a new provision, “Pay for Performance,” which is found at: http://www.studentscomefirst.org/performance.htm

Pay for Performance

Currently, teachers have little or no control over how much money they make each year in the State of Idaho. Teachers are paid based on where they fall on the Instructional Salary Grid, based on their level of education and years of experience. This makes it difficult for Idaho to reward excellence in the classroom or to attract and retain the best and the brightest in the classroom. Now, every teacher has the opportunity to make money above and beyond their base salary.

The goal of the pay-for-performance plan is not to force our current educators to work harder. We already know teachers and principals across Idaho are working hard for students each and every day. The goal is to reward them for the work they already do. Idaho’s pay for performance system would add to the current salary schedule, not replace it.

The pay-for-performance plan was agreed to by all stakeholders in 2009, including the Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Association of School Administrators, Idaho Education Association, and representatives of the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence.

Under this pay-for-performance plan, all teachers (including physical education teachers, special education teachers, alternative high school teachers, etc) are eligible to receive performance bonuses in three different areas.

·    Teachers can receive bonuses for working in hard-to-fill positions, as determined at the local level.

·    They can receive bonuses for taking on leadership responsibilities, such as mentoring new teachers or developing curriculum. These are things many teachers already do, but do not get paid for.

·    Teachers and administrators will also receive bonuses for working in schools that meet student growth targets set at both the state and local levels. At the state level, we will distribute bonuses based on academic growth in a whole school. At the local level, districts will have the flexibility to set their own student growth measures. It is important that these academic growth bonuses be awarded to the whole school, rather than individual teachers, because every teacher contributes to a student’s success in the classroom, whether it is in math, physical education, or art. Additionally, it is important that teachers continue to collaborate and share ideas, rather than pitting teacher against teacher.

Why is the student achievement portion of this plan based on academic growth? Because we know education is a process, not a destination. We are never done learning. So we shouldn’t assume that a child who is at grade level is done learning, either. Therefore, we should measure educators in a school based on the growth that the students in that school make in the year they have those students. This is the only fair way to measure academic performance.

·         Local PFP Submission Form and Waiver

·         MEMO PFP submission

·         Pay for Performance Webinar

·         PFP Calculation Template (2)

·         Master Agreement PFP Template – Small District

·         Master Agreement PFP Template – Large District

·         Local PFP Share Awards Template 2011-2012

·         Archived Pay for Performance Webinar

·         Pay-for-Performance Plan Fact Sheet

·         Leadership Awards

·         Student Achievement Measures

The legislation has some very ambitious goals:

What does this bill mean to you?

Students

  • Every student will have a highly effective teacher every year they are in school.
  • School will no longer be the least technological part of a student’s day. Classrooms will be interactive and engaging as well as educational.
  • Every student will have access to high-quality courses no matter where they live in Idaho.
  • If students meet state graduation requirements early, they can take dual credit courses paid for by state.
  • Students will take a college entrance exam, such as the SAT, ACT or Compass, free of charge before their senior year.
  • Student achievement will be a factor in teacher and school administrator performance evaluations.

Parents/Families

  • Every high school will receive more funding for math and science
  • The state will make unprecedented investments in effective classroom technology to aid students in the learning process.
  • High school students can take dual credit courses and earn college credit while still in high school at no cost to parents, if they meet state graduation requirements early.
  • The state is paying for all students to take college entrance exams, such as the ACT, SAT or Compass, before their senior year.
  • All parents will have input on teacher and principal performance evaluations.
  • Student achievement will be a factor in teacher and principal performance evaluations.
  • Locally elected school boards will have more local control than they have had in decades.
  • The state will phase out tenure for new teachers.
  • The state will make unprecedented investments in technology for every classroom, including the implementation of a one-to-one ratio of students to computers in high school over the next five years.
  • Every Idaho student will have access to high-quality courses no matter where they live in Idaho.

Link to Idaho Department of Education http://www.sde.idaho.gov/

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important.

Idaho is embarking on a huge education experiment.

Realted:

New Harvard study about impact of teachers          https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Washington D.C. rolls out merit pay

2 Jan

All politics is local.

Thomas P. O’Neill

Moi would like to modify that quote a bit to all education is local and occurs at the neighborhood school. We really should not be imposing a straight jacket on education by using a one-size-fits-all approach. Every school, in fact, every classroom is its own little microclimate. We should be looking at strategies which work with a given population of children.

A Healthy Child In A Healthy Family Who Attends A Healthy School In A Healthy Neighborhood. ©

Teachers and schools have been made TOTALLY responsible for the education outcome of the children, many of whom come to school not ready to learn and who reside in families that for a variety of reasons cannot support their education. All children are capable of learning, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not serve all children well. Different populations of children will require different strategies and some children will require remedial help, early intervention, and family support to achieve their education goals. There should also be different strategies about teacher compensation. Washington D.C. is trying out a merit pay system.

Sam Dillion reports in the New York Times article, In Washington, Large Rewards in Teacher Pay:

During her first six years of teaching in this city’s struggling schools, Tiffany Johnson got a series of small raises that brought her annual salary to $63,000, from about $50,000. This year, her seventh, Ms. Johnson earns $87,000.

That latest 38 percent jump, unheard of in public education, came after Ms. Johnson was rated “highly effective” two years in a row under Washington’s new teacher evaluation system. Those ratings also netted her back-to-back bonuses totaling $30,000.

Lots of teachers leave the profession, but this has kept me invested to stay,” said Ms. Johnson, 29, who is a special-education teacher at the Ron H. Brown Middle School in Northeast Washington. “I know they value me.”

That is exactly the idea behind what admirers consider the nation’s most advanced merit pay system for public school teachers. This fall, the District of Columbia Public Schools gave sizable bonuses to 476 of its 3,600 educators, with 235 of them getting unusually large pay raises.

We want to make great teachers rich,” said Jason Kamras, the district’s chief of human capital….

The most important role for incentives is in shaping who enters the teaching profession and who stays,” said Eric A. Hanushek, a professor of economics at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. “Washington’s incentive system will attract talented teachers, and it’ll help keep the best ones.”

Under the system, known as Impact Plus, teachers rated “highly effective” earn bonuses ranging from $2,400 to $25,000. Teachers who get that rating two years in a row are eligible for a large permanent pay increase to make their salary equivalent to that of a colleague with five more years of experience and a more advanced degree.

Those rewards come with risk: to receive the bonuses and raises, teachers must sign away some job security provisions outlined in their union contract. About 20 percent of the teachers eligible for the raises this year and 30 percent of those eligible for bonuses turned them down rather than give up those protections.

One persistent critic of the system is Nathan Saunders, president of the Washington Teachers Union, who argues that the evaluations do not adequately take into account the difficulties of working in poor neighborhoods. He also says that performance pay inappropriately singles out stars.

This boutique program discourages teachers from working together,” Mr. Saunders said. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/education/big-pay-days-in-washington-dc-schools-merit-system.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

It is interesting that some eligible teachers decided not to participate in the program.

Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative article in the New York Times, The High Cost of Low Teacher SalariesThe Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond which discusses the importance of teacher pay.

In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve….

Download this report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Teacher compensation is important to retaining quality teachers.

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise

With approximately 1.6 million teachers set to retire in the next decade, replenishing America’s teaching force should be a top priority. But filling classrooms with new teachers is only half the battle. Retaining them is equally important.

Numerous studies show that teachers perform best after being in the classroom for at least five years. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of American teachers leave after only one year, and 46 percent quit before their fifth year. In countries with the highest results on international tests, teacher turnover rates are much lower—around 3 percent.

This constant cycling in and out of new teachers is a costly phenomena. Students miss being taught by experienced educators, and schools and districts nationwide spend about $2.2 billion per year recruiting and training replacements.

Why are so many new teachers fleeing the profession after so few years in the classroom? Here are the top five reasons teacher turnover is an ongoing challenge:

5. BURNOUT: A recent U.C. Berkeley study of Los Angeles charter schools found unusually high rates of teacher turnover. At the 163 charter schools studied, teacher turnover hovered around 40 percent, compared to 15 percent at traditional public schools.

Since demands on charter school educators are seemingly boundless, including extended hours, researchers theorized, burnout is a viable explanation for the teacher exodus. “We have seen earlier results showing that working conditions are tough and challenging in charter schools,” explained U.C. Berkeley’s Bruce Fuller. “Charter teachers wear many hats and have many duties and are teaching urban kids, challenging urban kids, but we were surprised by the magnitude of this effect.”

4.THREAT OF LAYOFFS: In response to annual budget shortfalls, districts nationwide have sent pink slips to tens of thousands of teachers each spring for the past four years. In 2011, California sent out 30,000.

Retired teacher and author Jaime O’Neill believes this ongoing threat to job security has a destabilizing effect. As a new teacher, he wrote, you can expect your job “threatened each and every year when the annual state budget reveals once more that big cuts to education are coming, that you’ve been pink slipped until or unless there’s a last-minute reprieve. That yearly panic will cause you to wonder why you ever went into teaching in the first place, and you will surely make plans to seek other employment with each mention of just how precarious your employment is.”

3. LOW WAGES: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said that teachers should earn between $60,000 and $150,000 per year. That’s a far cry from the current national average starting salary for teachers, which is $35,139.

Linda DeRegnaucourt, an accomplished high school math teacher, told CNN that after working for five years without a raise, and taking home an annual salary of $38,000, she simply cannot afford to continue doing the job she loves. DeRegnaucourt, like many other teachers, will leave the profession to pursue a more lucrative career.

2. TESTING PRESSURE: Since the No Child Left Behind Act was introduced in 2001, standardized test scores in math and reading have become the most important accountability measure used to evaluate schools.

Studies show that pressure to raise student test scores causes teachers to experience more stress and less job satisfaction. Many educators resent narrowing curriculum and stifling creativity in favor of teaching to the test.

On the National Center for Education Information’s “Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011,” the majority of comments submitted by survey respondents were “expressions of strong opposition to the current emphasis on student testing.”

As states increasingly rely on standardized test scores to evaluate individual educators, determine teacher pay and make lay-off decisions, testing pressure will only increase.

1. POOR WORKING CONDITIONS: When the Gates foundation polled 40,000 teachers about job satisfaction, the majority agreed that supportive leadership, time for collaboration, access to high quality curriculum and resources, clean and safe buildings, and relevant professional development were even more important than higher salaries.

But working conditions in many public schools remain far from this ideal—especially for beginning teachers, who are most likely to be assigned to the highest-need schools. Despite the added challenges they face, these teachers are often given few resources and little professional support.

Marguerite Roza and Sarah Yatsko from the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Education have an interesting February 2010 policy brief.

In Beyond Teacher Reassignments: Better Ways School Districts Can Remedy Salary Inequities Across Schools Districts Roza and Yatsko report:

Inside nearly all large school districts, the most experienced and highly paid teachers congregate in the more affluent schools. The opposite takes place in the poorer schools, where teachers tend to be more junior and lower paid, and teacher turnover is higher. Financially, this maldistribution means that a larger share of the district’s salary dollars are spent on the more affluent schools, and conversely, the poorer schools with lower salaries draw down less funds per pupil. The problem, of course, is that the resulting dollar allocation patterns work to reinforce achievement gaps, not address them….

This brief addresses this concern by demonstrating that districts would NOT need to mandatorily reassign teachers. It shows that there are other ways to restructure allocations that do not systematically shortchange the neediest schools. Discussed here are four options that districts could pursue to remedy school spending inequities created by uneven salaries:

  • Option 1: Apply teacher salary bonuses to some schools to balance salaries

  • Option 2: Vary class size across schools to level spending

  • Option 3: Concentrate specialist and support staff in schools with lower-salaried teachers

  • Option 4: Equalize per-pupil dollar allocations

Download Full Report (PDF: 736 K)

The goal of putting a quality teacher in every classroom depends upon preserving the ranks of quality teachers during times of tight budgets.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©