According to data collected from Ohio’s new value-added teacher ratings, there appears to be little correlation between how much value an instructor brings to each student and how much that instructor is paid. The Cleveland Plain Dealer came to this conclusion after running an analysis jointly with StateImpact Ohio.
If anything, the data showed that teachers with low value-added scores were actually paid better on average than their peers with the highest grades. For example, teachers in Cleveland schools who had been found ineffective were paid about $3,000 per year more than those who had been found to be most effective. The same was true in over 100 school districts across Ohio.
In some ways, these results are no surprise: The way Ohio schools determine teachers’ salaries has nothing to do with how well they teach. It has everything to do with how long they’ve been teaching and whether they have a master’s degree.
But the StateImpact/Plain Dealer analysis quantifies the relationship between value-added and Ohio teachers’ pay. It also shows that older teachers in Ohio are paid significantly more than their younger colleagues but did not outperform them in the 2011-12 school year on value-added.
This inverse relationship between pay and teaching performance has been found in other studies from states such as Florida and New York that have experimented with similar value-added teacher assessment formulas. The University of Washington’s Dan Goldhaber says that beyond the first few years, there’s “just not much of a relationship.”
The StateImpact/Plain Dealer analysis is based on the new assessment scheme that uses standardized test scores to determine how much teachers contribute to each individual student’s success. The approach seeks to give a more objective answer to the question “What makes a teacher good?”
Value-added is one part of a new teacher evaluation system that schools must implement for the upcoming school year. That system is supposed to do a better job of distinguishing between great teachers and those in serious need of improvement. It will rely on value-added and other test-based measures as well as principals’ observations of teachers in the classroom.
Right now, Ohio calculates value-added scores only for reading and math teachers in fourth through eighth grades. The state translates each teacher’s value-added score into one of five labels, ranging from Most Effective (the top rating) to Least Effective (the bottom one).