Posts Tagged United States
Educational reform is receiving considerable attention these days, and a new study suggests prepaying teachers appears to improve student academic performance.
Paying an upfront bonus does come with a caveat as part of the money must be returned if student performance fails to improve, say University of Chicago researchers.
The study showed that students gained as much as a 10 percentile increase in their scores compared to students with similar backgrounds — if their teacher received a bonus at the beginning of the year, with conditions attached.
There was no gain for students when teachers were offered the bonus at the end of the school year, the research found.
“This is the first experimental study to demonstrate that teacher merit pay can have a significant impact on student performance in the U.S.,” said economist John List, Ph.D., an author of the study.
The study, published by the National Bureau of Economics Research, reflects the findings of other studies in psychology and behavioral economics.
“The results of our experiment are consistent with over 30 years of psychological and economic research on the power of loss aversion to motivate behavior: Students whose teachers in the ‘loss’ treatment of the experiment showed large and significant gains in their math test scores,” said List, a professor in economics at UChicago.
Timing of the incentive made a significant difference.
“In line with previous studies in the United States, we did not find an impact of teacher incentives that are framed as gains (the reward coming at the end of the year),” he added.
The study comes amid a growing wave of interest of finding ways to provide teacher incentives to increase student performance — as usually assessed by student achievement on standardized tests. Unfortunately, most of the current incentive programs have not shown value, the scholars said.
The new study depends on a formula developed by Dr. Derek Neal, professor of economics at UChicago, and Gadi Barlevy, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
They devised the “pay for percentile” method of measuring teacher performance by comparing individual students with similar backgrounds and achievement to see what impact a teacher had on their learning.
The scholars used the formula in an experiment in Chicago Heights, Ill., a community 30 miles south of Chicago. The community has nine kindergarten to eighth-grade schools with a total enrollment of 3,200 students. Its achievement rates are below state average, and 98 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches.
At the beginning of the school year, the teachers were introduced to the experiment and offered an opportunity to participate. A total of 150 of the 160 teachers agreed to join in the study, which was supported by the local teachers union.
The teachers were randomly assigned to a control group as well as a group given a bonus at the beginning of the year, a group that could receive the bonus at the end of the year, and a group made up of teachers who worked in teams. Money for the bonuses was provided from private sources.
One group of teachers in the study was given a $4,000 bonus at the beginning of the year and told it would be reduced by an amount reflecting their students’ performance — the more the students’ standardized scores increased, the more of the bonus their teacher could keep. Another group of teachers was told they would receive a $4,000 bonus if their students improved during the year.
The incentives were based on rewarding teachers with $80 for each percentile of increase in their students’ mathematics performance over the district average. They could, depending on exceptional student performance, receive up to $8,000 under the plan — the equivalent of 16 percent of the average teacher salary in the district.
The students were tested with the ThinkLink Predictive Assessment, a standardized, non-high-stakes diagnostic tool that is aligned with state achievement tests.
Thomas Amadio, superintendent of Chicago Heights Elementary School District 170, where the experiment was conducted, said the study shows the value of merit pay as an encouragement for better teacher performance.
“Teachers do have challenges, and classes can vary from year to year in how well they perform. Testing students individually to see their growth is a valuable measure, however,” he said.
Teachers responsible for that growth should be rewarded, he said.
Source: University of Chicago
Press Coverage for The Lancet – Children With Disabilities Are More Likely to Be Victims of Violence
17 July 2012 at 16:32
Children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to be victims of violence than other children, according to a new report commissioned by the World Health Organization.
The report, published in The Lancet on Thursday, found that disabled children were 3.6 times more likely to be physically assaulted and 2.9 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.
The most common victims of sexual assault were those with mental illness or retardation, and institutionalized children were attacked more often than those living at home.
Last week’s report was a meta-analysis of 17 other studies that collectively gathered evidence on 18,374 children, all of them living in wealthy countries, from the United States to Europe to Israel. About 3 percent of children in rich countries and up to 6 percent in poor ones have disabilities.
“Physical violence” included threats and spanking that left marks on the skin. A study published about 10 years ago estimated that 53,000 children under age 18 are murdered each year.
Dr. Etienne Krug, the director of the W.H.O. department of violence and injury prevention, said that strategies that have proven to protect other children should be studied for the disabled. Among these are training for violence-prone parents and home visits by nurses to children at risk.
An accompanying editorial also touched on mentally ill adults, saying public fear of them should be redirected to “increased awareness of, and compassion towards, these individuals as victims of violence.”
Women doctors make less than men: study Female doctor–researchers make an average of $12,000 per year less than their male counterparts, even after their work hours and area of specialty are taken into account, according to a study out Tuesday.
The wage gap between men and women is nothing new, but among doctors in particular it wasn’t clear if the disparity was due to different career choices and work habits in men and women that could have affected their pay.
“Disturbingly, even after we controlled for all those other factors, we found that male doctors were paid more than female doctors for doing the same work,” said Dr. Reshma Jagsi, the lead author of the new study from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
She and her colleagues sent questionnaires to 800 doctor-researchers in the United States, all of whom had previously won a mid-career award from the government. The doctors were an average of 45 years old at the time of the survey and three-quarters of them were white.
Men reported making an average of slightly over $200,000 per year and women about $168,000, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers found women were more likely to work in lower-paying specialties such as pediatrics and family medicine. Female doctors also tended to work slightly fewer hours than their male peers — 58 hours per week, on average, versus 63 for men.
Those differences were responsible for some of the salary gap. But even after Jagsi’s team accounted for income disparities that could have been due to career and life choices, the researchers found women still made about $12,000 less than men doing the same type and amount of work.
That’s similar to what has been found in past research, such as in studies of early-career doctors, according to Anthony Lo Sasso, a health policy and economics researcher from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
But the finding still leaves many unanswered questions, said Lo Sasso, who wasn’t involved in the new research.
“It really doesn’t get at what the underlying driver is, and I think that remains the puzzle at this point — what is accounting for this unexplained salary difference?”
One explanation, according to the researchers, is that women are less aggressive about negotiating for pay or may take factors other than salary, such as location and community, into account when choosing a job.
Lo Sasso said the disparity is “not necessarily a bad thing,” as it’s possible women in the study accepted slightly lower pay in return for less time being on-call and more predictability in their schedules. Those types of questions were not included in the survey.
“We don’t really have the answer to that, so we’re kind of just left to speculate,” Lo Sasso told Reuters Health.
The researchers calculated that over her career, the average female doctor-researcher would make about $350,000 less than a man doing similar work because of unexplained salary differences.
Jagsi said she worries the findings may hint at unconscious biases in hiring and pay at the academic institutions where these researchers worked. One way to address that, she said, is for employers to have clear policies about how salaries are determined so doctors can know if they’re being paid fairly.
And that applies outside of hospitals and universities as well, she pointed out.
A report out in April showed American women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gap that is even bigger in certain professions, such as financial management.
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/JjFzqx Journal of the American Medical Association, online June 12, 2012.
- Women Doctors Make Less Than Men (nlm.nih.gov)
- Why are female doctors paid less than male counterparts? – Globe and Mail (theglobeandmail.com)
- Women doctors make less than men: study (oddonion.com)
- When all else is equal, US women doctors earn less: study (dawn.com)
- Male doctors make $12K more per year than female doctors (eurekalert.org)
- Female Sexuality: The Love Doctor Is In The House (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- India worst place for women among top 19 economies (todayonline.com)