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December 14, 2008


Edward Hathway

Australia is debating performance based pay for teachers and similar matters. The idea is good of course, but difficult to do successfully. I think the problem might be that some teachers will get a good short term return on their efforts, but others might raise their students learning potential in the long run, without having instant effects in the year in which they teach the students. It would certainly be disconcerting for some to try and create future educated adults and not be recognised, whilst others successfully teach to the tests (like in Japanese and Korean high schools perhaps) and yet fail to make a lasting impression. It's a bit like most corporate bonus systems - they reward short term profit decisions, which are sometimes at the expense of (or at least do not contribute to) long term success. Perhaps this type of grading could be used best to identify the extremes of performance, rather than reward (or punish) all teachers. It certainly sounds like there are some extremes to be exposed.

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