The Oklahoma Creativity Project is:

A chance to change our state of mind. A way for Oklahomans, and Oklahoma, to say look at me, look what I can create.

Forget what you think you know about me. Dust off your dust bowl perception and look at what I’ve done for you lately. I am a pioneer of innovation, generation, construction, creation, invention, discovery and design.

I am Oklahoma, and I am breaking ground on groundbreaking. And when I fully realized my capacity for creativity, I’ll soar to new heights of connection, conversation and collaboration.

Think about it, Oklahoma. If we’re this good independently, how good could we be collectively?

Maybe we could be – THE State of Creativity.

I am VERY enthused about The Oklahoma Creativity Project, and the opportunity it will provide to catalyze multiple conversations about education, learning, and constructive educational reform in our state. After joining the social network for the project (the website’s description of a “blog” is “Blogs rule ‘cause there are no rules, and we encourage coloring outside the lines”) I did a search on the site for “education” and pulled up Courtney Bryce’s article “High test scores turn into cash” for the Edmond Sun newspaper on January 18, 2008. I posted the following response as a comment to that article, and as the initial post to my blog on the Oklahoma Creativity project site.

Paying teachers for high student test scores on standardized assessments is absolutely NOT the right way to encourage creativity in our state. Unfortunately, many politicians as well as community leaders have become enamored with the idea that tests and an emphasis on improving test scores on standardized achievement tests is a good vehicle for improving the overall quality of educational experiences in our public schools. This is a FALSE perception.

As an educational researcher, I am aware that one of the strongest correlations we see in educational research relates to SES (socio-economic status) and test scores. I am not a determinist, I support high expectations for all learners, but at the same time I recognize this result from educational research. It is not a coincidence that those cited in this article to receive these monetary awards are teachers in some of our most affluent school districts in our state: Deer Creek and Edmond. I am not discounting the wonderful job the teachers in these schools are likely doing, but I AM discounting the value of paying teachers for student test scores. This type of monetary reward for test scores further corrupts the educational profession and sends the WRONG message to both teachers and students. This policy communicates the idea that the only things which matter in formal educational settings are the things which can be measured on multiple choice exams. Nothing could be further from the truth, particularly for those who have a vested interest in encouraging creativity in the classroom.

For more on how an emphasis on high stakes testing inherently corrupts the educational profession, see the article “High-Stakes Testing and Student Achievement: Does Accountability Pressure Increase Student Learning?” from January 2006 by Sharon L. Nichols, Gene V. Glass and David C. Berliner.

For podcasts related to this subject, see Dr. David Berliner’s April 2006 presentation “High Stakes Testing is the Enemy” available as both an audio only podcast:

as well as an enhanced podcast:

My February 2008 podcast, “Pedagogic Crimes Against Students,” also focuses on these issues:

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One Response to Paying teachers for high student test scores is BAD policy

  1. Hi Wesley,

    This is a policy fraught with disaster. I know of a head of department who gives people he dislikes poor classes how will they fare? What of classes that may be streamed into ability groups? This is a policy that potentially marginalises the poor or weaker student, that creates a have and have not with teachers. It does not encourage good teaching and sets a tone of failure and underachievement.
    It will also act to ensure that lower decile schools struggle to attract and retain good teachers, accentuating the problem and amplifying the failure.


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