HOW TO INCENTIVISE GOOD TEACHERS

REWARDING AND INCENTIVISING TEACHERS

OECD Report looks at best practice worldwide

Comment  

Effective ways of evaluating and rewarding teachers can help to attract and retain high-quality teaching staff, according to a new OECD report.

The timing of the report is significant. There is now a significant weight of opinion  among think tanks and policy makers on the  importance of attracting good graduates into the profession and incentivising the best to stay .”Evaluating and Rewarding the Quality of Teachers” reviews how countries evaluate teacher performance and provide rewards and incentives to motivate teachers, and provides a guide for creating and implementing evaluation and reward systems.

The report, drawn up as part of a collaboration project with Mexico, reviews some 20 countries including Chile, India, Mexico, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Although no single model applies to all countries, the report gives answers to questions such as: – What aspects of teacher performance should be rewarded, and how should performance be measured? Who should be rewarded? Individuals, groups, school? Which reward mechanisms have proved successful?

 Contrasting practices are reported from around the world. In Singapore, for instance, which has one of the most admired systems in the world, teachers are rated on a range of criteria, according to which they may receive bonuses of 1-3 month’s salary. In Chile, separate systems reward individual teachers and groups of teachers, whereas in Brazil the emphasis is placed on rewards to high performing schools.

 Sweden, another favourite, particularly among Tories here  ,presents a particular case, where yearly increases in salary are negotiated on an individual basis between the teacher and the school. In other countries, traditional salary scales reward length of service rather than performance excellence. Non-monetary incentives exist, such as greater school autonomy in Nicaragua, positive working conditions in England and Wales and parts of the United States. The report recommends that governments draw on elements from the more successful experiences cited.

Improving standards of teaching and teacher retention  is not just about pay of course but the verdict seems to be it can definitely help . What is required is adequate and consistent funding of evaluation and incentives programmes to strengthen their credibility and motivate teachers over time. There should also be robust information and data systems that can link student performance to teachers and schools over time, so that decisions are evidence-based and reward programmes more objective.  Sufficient communication and consultation from the beginning with key stakeholders, including teachers and their unions, but also parents and administrators  is important too.  Also important is commonly agreed goals and methods for evaluating and rewarding teachers, as well as clear targets for student improvement.

 The report emphasizes that designing and implementing effective systems needs to be a gradual process that takes into consideration the needs of all stakeholders and clarifies the objectives that it aims to achieve.

The Tories vision for free schools implies autonomous schools having some control over teachers pay and conditions to help incentivise performance and help recruitment and  retention. This OECD report provides useful information on best practice worldwide in this area.

 “Evaluating and Rewarding the Quality of Teachers – International Practices”, is available here

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