In my district, we are participating in the merit pay program called DATE (District Awards for Teacher Excellence). All teachers on the campus are assigned to a team - 9th grade reading, 9th grade math, 10th math, etc. Obviously, the academic content teachers are assigned to the team for the grade and subject they teach. Electives teachers are (apparently) assigned randomly to an academic team. This year I am on the 10th grade social studies team. What that means for me is that I will get a merit-based pay award if the 10th graders' passing rate on the TAKS test rises from 96% to 98% (or something similar).
I am NOT an advocate of merit-based pay using standardized test data. There are things that affect a student's ability to pass the tests that are out of the control of teachers. Additionally, I am even less impressed with the idea that somehow MY success as a teacher is tied into an academic subject and grade level that I do not teach and have no control over.
Rant over. Thanks for reading! =)
Art 1 & Electronic Media
Pasadena High School