Education Letter to the Editor

On Denver Pay Plan, Steps to Prevent Fraud

December 13, 2005 1 min read

To the Editor:

Denver voters have endorsed an incentive- or merit-pay plan that has been tried in the past, but has never been shown to be successful (“Denver Voters Pave Way for Incentive Pay,” Nov. 9, 2005).

Your article states that, among other incentives, salary increases will be linked to students’ improved performance on state tests. If this plan is to have any legitimacy, three testing conditions must be adhered to. First, the teachers involved in the incentive plan can’t administer these tests; that has to be done by an independent testing company. Second, that company must be instructed to give the test directions to all the students in the exact same manner. And third, the people who mark the exams cannot come from the school system. While a slew of other factors makes the incentive plan impossible, these three conditions are a minimum to prevent fraud.

Elliot Kotler

Ossining, N.Y.