Competition for Test Results is not the Way We Should be Heading

Maralyn Parker is right on the money in her column in the Daily Telegraph this week. She says all that needs to be said about the Julia Gillard’s teacher bonus scheme. Pitting teacher against teacher is not the way to improve student outcomes. It can even reduce results. This is an extract from her column with our emphasis added.

I like to think Australia is not following the US and the UK in giving too much importance to standardised tests but we must be vigilant.

I don’t like the recent mention of using test results in some way to determine whether teachers get a bonus from the federal government. We don’t have details yet but it might be the right time to object loudly.

By all means pay quality teachers more, but base the extra money on professional teaching standards not test results. Competition between teachers for test results is not the way we should be heading.

On Monday night US academic Linda Darling Hammond told us, in her guest lecture at the University of Sydney, that in the US some schools where a bonus was paid on test results the actual standards went down. Teachers stopped collaborating about their teaching.

I don’t want us to ever become a nation where testing rules everything we do in our classrooms.

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