What’s Right for Compensation and Evaluation?

Kapplerhewitt-k120x148A number of sessions at the upcoming ASCD Annual Conference in San Francisco focus on teacher evaluation, and there is a push in Race to the Top states to tie teacher evaluation to student learning data.

Interestingly, in most districts, teacher evaluations and teacher compensation are unrelated. Indeed, most districts base teacher compensation on years of experience and highest degree earned.

According to a synthesis of research (PDF) conducted by the Center for Educator Compensation Reform, the “majority of studies conclude that teacher education and experience are not strong predictors of teacher effectiveness, as measured by student achievement gains.” (p. 1.)

Although I wonder whether achievement gains are the right/only measure to use, it does seem difficult to defend teacher compensation based solely on years of experience and highest degree earned when research does not support the wisdom of doing so.

On what factors or elements should teacher compensation be based? To what degree and in what ways should teacher evaluation and compensation be linked?

Post submitted by Kimberly Kappler Hewitt, director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment at Oakwood City Schools in Dayton, OH, and a 2011 ASCD Annual Conference Scholar.