Do we need to look to the US system for answers?



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A recent report published by NZ Initiative suggests that New Zealand should consider introducing performance-based initiatives for teaching staff along the lines of what is happening in other countries.

153047349.jpgReport author Martine Udahemuka travelled to the United States and United Kingdom to look at different ways that schools are trying to improve student outcomes.

Udahemuka says we should be looking beyond whether students achieve national standards, and focus more on the individual progress made by students.

This thinking is aligned with many in the education sector. The Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office are reportedly working on ways to better measure students’ progress.

However, the report’s suggestions for basing a teacher’s pay on student progress are not supported by the sector.

The report argues that teaching standards improve when teachers are incentivised by higher pay.

However, NZ Principals Federation and School Trustees Association have come out in opposition to performance-based pay and the unions have always had this view.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart said comparisons to overseas education systems were unhelpful  and detracted from the positive changes underway in New Zealand.

However, NZ Initiative executive director Oliver Hartwich says the Initiative’s previous work on school performance highlighted there is still a long way to go.

“We found deep-seated problems with chronic school failure and even worse that the way performance is assessed does not separate good teaching from bad,” he says.

The report discussed here is titled Fair and Frank: Global insights for managing school performance. The NZ Initiative has announced another report is forthcoming that will “draw on these global examples and inform practical recommendations for improved school management in New Zealand”.

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