How dare we link teacher pay to test results when the people who are judged by the tests administer the tests?
If you know that other teachers are cheating on their tests, and their pay will be increased by it, aren’t you a patsy if you don’t cheat?
If you want to link pay to test scores, hire outsiders with no stake in the outcome to administer the tests, or film or webcast teachers as they do so.
Even if no conscious cheating occurs, it is a long-known well-known fact: If you will get a benefit from a given result, your actions may make that result more likely–even if you don’t do it on purpose.
Teachers can help students in ways they feel are innocent—especially if they feel tests are unfair to poor readers, English-learners, or low-income students. They can:
- Fail to prevent students from copying from others through distraction, teacher fatigue, or lax supervision.
- “Clarify” test questions for students.
- Translate portions into a student’s home language, subconsciously providing additional hints.
- When reading questions aloud, subconsciously reveal correct answers through change in voice.
(This may be where some teacher erasures come from: “Well, the answer most of them chose should have been correct, also, so I’ll give them credit for that one, also.”)
Here is something you may not have known:
Different schools administer the tests at different times. Many teachers at schools that receive tests earlier share test questions and answers with their friends at the “get-tests-later” schools. These in-the-know teachers can then teach their classes using the actual test questions, or use almost-identical ones.
If you were a teacher who didn’t have this advantage, how would you feel about your salary increases being linked to your students’ scores versus theirs?
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