Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pay for Performance: Good Practice or Bad?

Recently, I wrote a paper analyzing the benefits and pitfalls of using Performance Evaluations in organizations. After much research, including a very persuasive article by Fred Nickols, I ultimately decided that Performance Evaluations aren’t the best use of time or money for large for-profit organizations. However, for teachers I believe that should be held accountable by use of Performance Evaluations. I am a teacher and the county in which I work uses Performance Evaluation as one measure of teacher performance. Another incentive for teacher for performance is an incentive called MAP Pay. This is a monetary incentive that teachers can receive based on the reading gains made by their students during the year. I think that it is fantastic that the county in which I work is trying to reward teachers who are working hard; however, there are several faults with this system from my perspective. First, I only teach math, science and social studies…. If you read carefully above a red flag should have gone up right here. If the MAP Pay is based on reading gains, how can I rightfully be assessed on a subject that I don’t teach? Until this year, this fact has never been a problem because my teaching partner always made the appropriate gains. This year, my teaching partner made the appropriate gains with our students and she got the incentive money and I did not. This also happened with my co-teacher and her reading partner. We teach the same kids and she got the incentive and I did not. How can this be? (Insert disclaimer here.) In no way am I trying to blame my teaching partner at all. The data showed that she did meet the gains that were required for this incentive. The problem is at the county level. I think that they need to rethink the way they distribute incentive pay. Perhaps, teachers should be assessed on what they actually teach? That would be one place to start. Even more frustrating is that it is not hard to “fudge” the beginning of year scores in order to reflect greater growth at the end of the year. There are plenty of teachers who have received this incentive who don’t rightfully deserve it (in my opinion anyways). Meanwhile, I stay at work late, arrive early, invest in my students outside of school, lead teachers so they can have a positive affect on their students, and hold a position on the leadership team. If that is not worth a performance incentive, I don't know what is.

Since the crushing revelation of not receiving this type of incentive, I have written my appeal and washed my hands of it. If I get the money, great! If not, oh well. Amassing a great amount of money is clearly not why I am a teacher.

With all that I have read and studied about Performance Evaluations and Human Resources issues. This system clearly has some major flaws.

Thanks for reading,


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