Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Spellings adds to list of Growth Model states

Secretary Spellings announced that Iowa and Ohio have been added to the list of states allowed to include growth models in their high-stakes accountability systems. The other states already on that list are North Carolina, Tennessee, Delaware, Arkansas, and Florida. Tony Bryk of Stanford University led the review panel.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Center for Teaching Quality publishes report on pay for performance

CTQ recently produced a report on recommendations for reforming teacher pay. The twist here is that the report was co-authored by 18 award-winning teachers. The thing that warms my heart is the acknowledgment that while the focus for all kids must be high achievement, the reality on the ground is that only high rates of growth will get them there. The group recommends fairly comprehensive systems of performance measurements in all grades and subjects. They also recommend incentives for accumulating relevant skills (pay for course work related to district goals) and for knowledge transfer (pay for high growth teacher to work at the school or district level to hand on that ability).

Here are the high points:
  1. Get the base-pay system right.
  2. Supplement the base-pay system with a performance-pay system that is open to all teachers.
  3. Reward teachers who help their students make significant academic gains.
  4. Provide additional pay for additional degrees and professional development, but only if the training is relevant.
  5. Allow local flexibility.
  6. Encourage collaboration.
  7. Offer incentives to teachers who want to teach in high-needs, low-performing schools, but only if they’re qualified.
  8. Reward leadership, not seniority.
  9. Be brave, be bold.
  10. Finally, make sure to include accomplished teachers in any efforts to overhaul your teacher compensation plans.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Trying to do the right thing costs too much!

The Delaware Department of Education attempted to introduce both adaptive testing to high stakes as well as provide series of formative test to provide more focused and timely diagnostic feedback to students and teachers. Faced with a stiff price, the state decided to stay with its current assessments for three more years. This is a challenge faced by many SEAs attempting to do the right thing. It's not that they don't know what a better testing system would look like. It's expensive to do this sort of work and most vendors don't have item banks large enough or well enough aligned with coursework. Until there is a mature market in this area, early movers will essentially be subsidizing the development work being done by test vendors.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

No lack of interest - just a lack of time and new material

I find myself slowing down here. We are engaged in more and more work with districts and states. Most of our senior staff are engaged in scholarly writing to get out the details of our approach. More and more, we are thinking of how we support analysis, evaluation, and decision support as an intervention. As such, we must focus on getting written product out through reviewed publications. This is the primary method for achieving economies of scale in our work.

We are also slogging through the hard work of scaling up ourselves. Aside from our work with two large urban districts, we are also beginning to help a number of districts using pay for performance schemes to reward teachers and leaders. The difficulty of attracting and hiring qualified staff for this esoteric work cannot be overestimated.