Saturday, April 07, 2012

Teacher Compensation Based on Effectiveness

 Speaking of teacher effectiveness, this looks like an interesting study (though I haven't had a chance to read it yet):


Dear Whitney,

There is no effort in the country further ahead in designing and implementing a workable teacher evaluation system than Harrison (CO) School District's Pay-for-Performance Plan. Harrison is a high-poverty school district of about 10,000 students near Colorado Springs. It has confronted the dual challenges of defining an effective teacher and identifying all the things that demonstrate her effectiveness. Exceptional teachers in Harrison are rewarded for their students' quantifiable success and their own documented professionalism. Excellent teachers earn substantially more—and earlier in their careers—than their less effective peers. This plan was designed in partnership with the local teachers' union.

Watch Mike Miles in his own words on Fordham's Reform School 

How does Harrison measure teachers' success? How many pay levels does it have? What tests does it give students? When are the tests given? What are principals' roles in the evaluation process? How does the district support teachers who aren't succeeding? All this, and much more, is detailed in Fordham's newest report, Teacher Compensation Based on Effectiveness: The Harrison (CO) School District's Pay-for-Performance Plan.

Mike Miles, a former U.S. State Department diplomat and Army Ranger officer, has been superintendent in Harrison since 2006. Just two years into the implementation of the district's pay-for-performance plan, he is the first to say that he can't prove that the plan alone is driving Harrison's successes. (The district's most recent average ACT scores were up one full point over the previous year; one elementary school's third grade scored 100 percent proficient on Colorado's state reading test.)

Superintendent Miles summed the effort up thusly:

At a time when districts are being prodded, incentivized, or forced to adopt pay-for-performance plans, we hope this 'how-to' guide will be a useful template that allows districts to seize the opportunity to recognize and reward teachers who are succeeding in the classroom.

I believe this report can help the important efforts in districts and schools across the country to create high-quality teacher evaluation systems and rigorous teacher performance plans of their own. I hope you find it as interesting as I do.


Terry Ryan

Vice President for Ohio Programs & Policy

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