Misleading measurements

Earlier this year, D.C. teachers negotiated a merit based salary schedule.

The contract they agreed on uses criteria such as improvement in student test scores to determine pay raises for teachers.  Monitoring year-end outcomes has long been a popular strategy for improving the performance of our schools.  The idea is that if teachers (or schools) know that their funding depends on certain monitored outcomes, they will work to improve those outcomes.  Problems associated with this strategy have included test fraud and teaching to the test, as well as inequality when the standards for acceptable outcomes are not sufficiently flexible across different units.

These problems seem to be soluble, though (just think about it).  But what if monitoring short-term outcomes is linked to both improvements in short-term outcomes and negative effects on long-term outcomes?  (link to link to article)

I seem to recall pushing for greater use of student evaluations in departmental decisions on professors last year.  Hey, there’s no way I have time to survey the literature on everything I advocate…


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