Aug 11, 2012

ARTICLE: Boosting Test Scores

Will Fear Boost Test Scores? An Unnerving New Way to Motivate Teachers
LINK: Take Part

I've posted on this topic before. I just wanted to point out a couple of things.

The subtitle: Study says: Threatening to take teachers' bonuses back may improve student performance.

In regards to discipline, testing, pay raises, and motivation, the idea of threats has really caught on. Come on, who doesn't associate sound educational policies and techniques with threats? Schools should be fearful, miserable places... like prison.

The author's final question: Which do you think works better: taking money away from teachers if students don’t improve, or awarding them bonuses after students get good scores?

Well, neither, really. It was one tiny study. Studies on merit pay haven't proven its value. The idea of paying teachers but threatening to take it away--like an eight year old's allowance--is a bit insulting. (That's not to say that I wouldn't take the money.) I wonder why the researchers didn't include a group that received an $8,000 pay raise and... that's it. Just a raise. 

"Hey, teachers, here's some more money. You said you're worth it. Prove it!"

And we'd be all over that. A respectful challenge.

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