Gillard and Garrett ignore the evidence against teacher bonuses


Nothing more clearly demonstrates that education policy under the Gillard Government is an evidence-free zone than the announcement last week on new funding to start paying bonuses to the top teachers in Australia, says Save Our Schools convenor Trevor Cobbold.

The Government has proceeded with the scheme even though the large majority of major research studies in recent years, including three new academic studies in recent months, demonstrate that teacher bonuses do not increase student achievement and can actually undermine student learning.

The Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Education jointly announced that bonuses will be paid to about one in ten teachers – around 25,000 teachers. The first bonuses will be based on performance in the 2013 school year and paid in early 2014. Teachers with the most experience will get about $8,100 and teachers in the first few years of their career will get around $5,400 each. The total cost will be $1.3 billion over eight years.

Bonus payments will be based on lesson observations, student performance data (including NAPLAN and school based information that can show the valued added by particular teachers), parental feedback and teacher qualifications and professional development undertaken.

Several recent studies have demonstrated that the bonuses are unlikely to achieve their goal of improving student results.

A review of studies of three major performance pay schemes operating in the United States found that they have had no effect on student test scores in reading, mathematics and science. The review is published in the latest issue of the National Tax Journal. 

Follow this link to the Save Our Schools website to read the article in full.

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