Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wonkitorial: Test-Based Student Accountability

A few days ago, we took a look at merit pay in Iowa.

Dr. Mark Stock, superintendent of an Indiana school district,
has the skinny on a scheme to tie teacher compensation in that state to standardized test scores.

Since it is proposed that Indiana teachers should be paid according to student performance on standardized test scores, I wonder how the Indiana legislature would feel about tying students' report card grades to those same tests?

At present, standardized test scores aren't used in factoring report card grades in any locale that I'm aware of. The result is that many students don't put forth their best efforts when they take these examinations. In all too-many cases, some students simply don't care because they know that these tests don't affect their grades one way or the other.

And yet Indiana teacher compensation would be based upon student effort on Test Day...

If lawmakers insist on imposing some sort of performance-based pay scheme for teachers that would be based on test scores, it's only just that students also have some sort of incentive to put forth their best effort.

But if not grades, then what would those incentives be?
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