Linking Teacher Pay to Test Scores Is a Joke
Eugene Robinson: Corruption allegations in Atlanta prove the point
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2013 12:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – The huge corruption case in Atlanta schools makes one thing clear, writes Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post: It's time we put an end to the dumb idea of linking teacher pay to standardized test scores. Prosecutors say the former superintendent and others collected fat bonuses for improved scores—which they achieved not by making students smarter but by changing their incorrect answers to correct ones. The kids, meanwhile, got the message that they had mastered subjects they were actually clueless about.

"Standardized achievement tests are a vital tool, but treating test scores the way a corporation might treat sales targets is wrong," writes Robinson. They should be part of reform, not the sole determinant of its success—otherwise, more Atlantas await. "But even absent cheating, the blind obsession with test scores implies that teachers are interchangeable implements of information transfer, rather than caring professionals who know their students as individuals," he writes. "It reduces students to the leavings of a No. 2 pencil." Click for Robinson's full column.

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Apr 3, 2013 1:24 PM CDT
The problem with the big giveaway from government is always an attraction to thieves and there is no way other than prosecution to keep the thefts with in reason.
Apr 3, 2013 11:21 AM CDT
It would be like linking police officer pay to the city crime rate. "The crime is bad in that city. The police must not be doing their job. So let's pay them less. That way only truly committed officers will stay. What could go wrong?"
Apr 3, 2013 1:46 AM CDT
When I was a kid we had a federal employee come to our school and administer a standardized test at the beginning of the year and then again towards the end of the school year. Other than gathering the students together for the tests the teachers had nothing to do with it. The tests were also graded by computer, instead of by humans. -Obviously this would almost totally eliminate any chance of fraud. I don't see why this couldn't be re instituted.