A performance-bonus system that makes use of “student learning objectives"—academic growth goals set by teachers in consultation with their principals—helped improve student achievement in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., schools, concludes a study issued last week.
The study, by the Community Training and Assistance Center, a Boston-based technical-assistance and policy-evaluation nonprofit, found that students taught mathematics by participating teachers improved on average at a rate 12 percent higher than those in comparison schools. That was nearly enough to catch them up to their peers in those comparison schools, who started slightly ahead of them. In reading, the growth rate was 13 percent greater than it was for the control group.
Student Learning Objectives, or SLOs, are a growth measure in which teachers typically engage in a process of goal-setting. They might determine, for example, to increase the number of students who are proficient in dividing fractions. Then, with principals and colleagues, they select an appropriate way to measure progress toward the goal and a teaching plan to reach it. If they reach it, they get a bonus payout.
A version of this article appeared in the March 06, 2013 edition of Education Week as Evaluating Teachers