Longview Incentive For Teachers (LIFT)
Pay for Performance Value Added Incentive Award Program
The most important variable in a successful education system in regard to student growth and progress is that which is at the forefront of the issue: teachers. Sixty-five percent of student progress can be directly attributed to the teacher, 30% to the school, and 5 percent to the district. (Sanders, 2007) It is imperative to understand exactly what highly effective teachers do in the classroom. Fundamental to these ideas and to transforming our schools is the need for accurate information to precisely measure teachers’ influence on student learning.
A successful education system flourishes in the harmonization of all factors that influence learning. Educators, environments, family backgrounds, health and other determinants all have a part to play in the success of a single student’s education. As a nation we must implement reform comprehensively to address all of these considerations. However, the most important variable to address regarding student growth and progress is that which is at the forefront of the issue: teachers.
With teachers having such a large influence on students’ academic success, it is imperative to understand exactly what highly effective teachers actually do in the classroom. Identifying these teachers, recognizing them, and learning from them are important steps toward ensuring that each student has an effective educator. Equally important is quickly identifying teachers who are struggling in the classroom in order to give them the support and opportunity so that they may follow a successful path, which will, by extension, support the success of their students.
Fundamental to these ideas and to transforming our nation’s schools is the need for accurate information to more precisely measure teachers’ influence on student learning. Without understanding the impact of educators on student outcomes, educators and policymakers may not have the most reliable information with which to make policy and instructional decisions. Using data to understand both students’ and teachers’ strengths and weaknesses can allow classrooms to thrive by implementing strategies that maximize the potential of both parties. It is the impact of this effort that will lead our nation’s schools toward real education transformation, and ultimately, the necessary strong foundation to boost our nation’s economic prosperity.
Each student enters the classroom with a unique set of qualities and skills. This can make educating challenging and the traditional education model of providing a standard curriculum to each student an ineffective teaching method. In order to achieve transformational results with students, the educators’ goals must be more far-reaching: to empower and strengthen students at all achievement levels and help develop them to be valuable contributors to society. To achieve these goals, educators must recognize the need to treat students holistically through:
- Meeting the academic needs of students regardless of where they are. That is, developing low-achieving students, supporting middle-range students, and challenging high-level students.
- Ensuring progress each year by every student. Growth is not about every student reaching the same level of achievement; it is about every individual student’s advancement and improvement each school year.
- Maximizing opportunities and successes for students in both the short and long-term. Meeting short-term goals, such as passing the next math test, should not be the ultimate goal. Educators must ensure that students are fully comprehending and applying the material they are learning so that they can build on it from year to year and increase its value. Furthermore, public schools must work toward attaining long-term goals for their students, such as college and career readiness
Achievement vs. Progress
The public education system historically has operated under a quantitative paradigm that measures success with benchmarks like: “How many students were served?” and “How many students received a passing grade?” This approach has not facilitated the ability to truly understand the impacts of educators’ work on students served. Moreover, it has driven educators to often use standard deliveries of instruction, focusing highly on outputs as good measures of teaching effectiveness. This approach has its foundation in two assumptions:
- If a student does not reach a certain achievement level, he or she has not made progress. It is vital to recognize that each student is at a different academic level and will make different amounts of progress.
- If students take the same courses, they will reach the same levels of achievement. Each student enters and leaves the classroom at different points of achievement. Therefore, every student needs differentiated education to maximize his or her own individual potential.
These assumptions have driven school systems to accept a variety of quantitative outputs as optimal estimates of a student’s progress. While these figures are useful and necessary, they do not provide insight on qualitative impacts relative to a student.
Achievement is a student’s performance at a single point in time; it is an output that typically is measured by students’ performance on state tests and how well students perform in relation to state standards. Thus, each student enters a grade level with a certain level of achievement.
Progress is measured by how much growth students make over a given period of time; it is an outcome. For example, the gain that a student makes from grade three to grade four is “progress.” Measuring both achievement and progress, or outputs and outcomes, helps educators measure impacts they have on student learning (see the table below). With this information, teachers, schools and districts can better determine the impact of their curriculum, instruction, programs and practices on student growth.
Performance Incentive Award Program
In December of 2012 the LISD Board of Trustees charged the district with developing a Performance Pay System for Middle School teachers in Reading and in Math to facilitate the closing of the educational achievement gap between the “All” student group and the “ECD” student group thereby improving student performance on the Federal Accountability System - Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Since that time, research has been conducted to determine the feasibility of the project and a report to the LISD Board of Trustees was made in January 2013 outlining a comprehensive model and system that could be used to more precisely measure the teachers influence on student learning.
SAS EVAAS Teacher Effectiveness Value Added Reports provide reflection on the overall effectiveness of a teacher based on student progress. The report for the 2012 STAAR test Reading and Mathematics compared the student progress to that of a referenced population such as the state of Texas to establish the appropriate expectation for growth. The expectations for growth are divided into the following effectiveness levels:
- Level 1 – Least Effective: teachers whose students are making substantially less progress than the state growth/state average (Estimated mean NCE gain is below the growth standard by more than 2 standard errors)
- Level 2 – Approaching average effectiveness: teachers whose students are making less progress than the state growth/state average (Estimated mean NCE gain is below the growth standard by more than 1 standard errors but greater than 2 standard errors)
- Level 3 – Average Effectiveness: teachers whose students are making the same amount of progress as the state growth/state average (Estimated mean NCE gain is equal to the growth standard but less than 1 standard errors)
- Level 4 - Above Average Effectiveness: Teachers whose students are making more progress than the state growth/state average (Estimated mean NCE gain is above the growth standard by more than 1 standard errors but less than 2 standard errors)
- Level 5 – Most Effective: teachers whose students are making substantially more progress than the state growth/state average (Estimated mean NCE gain is above the growth standard by 2 standard errors or more.
For 2012-2013, the committee proposed to award $104.30 per ECD student that a level 5 teacher taught and $69.56 per ECD student that a level 4 teacher taught. The amount was calculated by taking the total available amount outline in 2012-2013 of about $250,000 and dividing it by 2,396 ECD students in middle school reading and math courses. Dividing gives an amount of $104.30. This was assumed to be the amount of payout per ECD student if every student were part of a level 5 teacher’s class. The committee decided that the award per ECD student for a level 4 teacher would be two-thirds that of a level 5 or $69.56 per student.
To remain consistent the LISD Board of Trustees approved following the model that was used for the 2012-2013 LIFT pay for performance model as outlined above. Therefore the LIFT payout would include an award of $104.30 per ECD student that a level 5 teacher taught and $69.56 per ECD student that a level 4 teacher taught. Performance incentive programs are in place in 14 states (ECS, 1997a). Most performance incentive programs are designed to reward performance gains. Using the data system and method described above.
On December 8, 2014, the Longview ISD Board of Trustees authorized the payout of the 2013-2014 LIFT Pay for Performance Value-Added model. This program will monetarily award student performance gains based on a set statistical index outlined on the Longview Incentive for Teachers Pay for Performance Eligibility Criteria and Award Model Chart to grades four–EOC teachers who teach in a STAAR tested subject area. Other teachers who provide instruction or instructional interventions through tutorials or labs (i.e Read 180, LAPS, MAPS, accelerated math classes, accelerated Reading Classes, or any other form of reading, language arts, or math interventions) will also be eligible to receive the performance incentive award. The content area of writing will not be included in the payout model.