Student scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and on the ACT in Kentucky have risen slightly during the years in which many schools implemented Common Core State Standards, according to two recent studies. Researchers say it is too early to tell whether there is a connection between the improvement in scores and the Common Core.
A recent review found that some high schools in Orange County, Fla., raise the grades of Advanced Placement students based on their performance on AP exams. Officials say they are seeking to make grading more consistent within the district, and a panel has been formed to study possible solutions. While some AP teachers say that raising grades helps provide incentives for students to perform well on the exams, other educators say coursework and the exams are separate.
State tests in reading, math and science will be given to more than 90,000 students in Hawaii public schools beginning this week, and educators are worried about how students' scores will be affected by three weeks of instructional time lost because of teacher furloughs. In 2009, 34% of Hawaii schools made adequate yearly progress benchmarks, down from 42% the year before. For schools to attain AYP, 58% of students must be proficient in reading and 46% in math.
The issue of paying teachers bonuses based on student achievement on Advanced Placement exams has some Boston educators saying the practice will result in tying teacher pay to student performance. "AP teachers themselves understand that their students' success rests in part on the efforts of teachers who came before them and on collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines. They realize that bonus pay for a few can have a corrosive effect on teamwork and morale," wrote Anne Wass, a Massachusetts teachers union president, in a letter to the editor.
Merit pay for teachers is being pushed in many districts nationwide, but critics, including many unions, say it is unfair to tie teacher pay to student performance on standardized tests. Supporters of performance pay say high-quality teaching leads to student success, and enhanced pay is one way to attract and retain quality teachers.