‘Why performance-related pay will never work for teachers – and will ultimately drive down standards’

Writing in the TES, ATL general secretary Mary Bousted says it is just not the case than good teaching can be easily observed, measured and rewarded.

Education ministers argue that performance-related pay (PRP) rewards good teachers, makes the profession more attractive to good-quality graduates and raises standards of student achievement. There is one major flaw with this argument: it is not true.

There is no evidence, from any education system in the world, that performance-based pay improves educational standards.

There is evidence, however, that performance-based pay narrows the school curriculum because assessment of teacher performance is overly dominated by pupil performance in timed written tests. This results in a rote-learning approach to education – because if teachers’ jobs and pay rely on pupil test performance, they will, unsurprisingly, do all they can to prepare pupils for the tests…

Even shakier is the politicians’ proposition that PRP rewards good teachers and keeps them in the profession, because it is simply not the case that good teaching is something that can be easily observed and measured. The truth is that teaching does not lend itself easily to categorical statements of “good” and “bad”…

How teacher quality is measured is not only a matter of justice, it is also an issue that is driving good teachers out of the profession.

Performance-related pay is in special measures.

More at: ‘Why performance-related pay will never work for teachers – and will ultimately drive down standards’

 

If Mary Bousted is right about this, isn’t it potentially a bit depressing for teachers who want to excel and be seen to excel in their profession? 

If good teaching cannot be measured, how does anyone know, or demonstrate, they are good at it? Or, perhaps more importantly, that they are getting better at it? 

For those driven by an inner sense of satisfaction that may be fine, but are we saying there is no way of getting any external reference of whether you are a good teacher or not and that, therefore, the only way to progress is in terms of leadership roles?

Please tell us what you think in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Categories: Policy and Teaching.

Comments

  1. brighton118

    SchoolsImprove – Hope NiMo reads & digests; this has implications for her ‘excellent’ teachers who will form basis of proposed NTS.

  2. Wikipaedia rules out PRP for ‘cognitive work’.  Or does our government not recognise teaching as cognitive activity?    

    “Academic evidence has increasingly mounted indicating that performance related pay leads to the opposite of the desired outcomes when it is applied to any work involving cognitive rather than physical skill. Research funded by the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_Bank undertaken at the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_Institute_of_Technology with input from professors from the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Chicago and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_Mellon_University repeatedly demonstrated that as long as the tasks being undertaken are purely mechanical performance related pay works as expected. However once rudimentary cognitive skills are required it actually leads to poorer performance.

    “These experiments have since been repeated by a range of economists,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance-related_pay#cite_note-4 sociologists and psychologists with the same results. Experiments were also undertaken in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madurai, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India where the financial amounts involved represented far more significant sums to participants and the results were again repeated. These findings have been specifically highlighted by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_H._Pink in his work examining how motivation works.”

  3. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove schools are collegiate entities where everyone contributes. Impossible to identify the effect of an individual teacher.

  4. NGAMedia

    SchoolsImprove so the contention is nobody in a school knows which teachers – or other staff for that matter – are good at their job? EK

  5. NGAMedia

    SchoolsImprove so the contention is nobody in a school knows which teachers – or other staff for that matter – are good at their job? EK

  6. NGAMedia

    SchoolsImprove so the contention is nobody in a school knows which teachers – or other staff for that matter – are good at their job? EK

  7. neilayates

    NGAMedia SchoolsImprove Respective years achievement & progress doesn’t lie.No blame, no excuses should apply but accountability essential

  8. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove If the purpose is to achieve “standards”. These will define measures and management methods used. A nasty enforcing loop

  9. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove If the purpose is to achieve “standards”. These will define measures and management methods used. A nasty enforcing loop

  10. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove If the purpose is to achieve “standards”. These will define measures and management methods used. A nasty enforcing loop

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