ISSUE-058

Teachers' salaries should be based on the academic performance of their students.


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.


Should teachers’ salaries be based on the academic performance of their students? Some say yes, but I do not think it is a good idea in the long run because teachers will more likely train students to do well in exams instead of educating them to become truly independent learners.


To start with, the proposal can have some positive effects, as its advocates may argue, on the quality of teaching in school. After all, the academic performance of a student is largely evaluated by how well he or she does in exams. Typically speaking, the higher the scores, the better the performance. Consequently, it is understandable that if a teacher’s salary is determined by the academic performance, the teacher will try to improve students’ scores by paying more attention to their studies. The short-term consequences, therefore, will be that students can expect more attention from their teachers, which are undeniably good for their development in school.


That being said, in the long run the proposed connection between teachers’ salaries and students’ academic performance can bring some negative influences to the education that students receive. This adverse effect, to a large extent, outweighs the potential short-term gains argued above. Once teachers’ primary focus becomes improving the scores of their students, they may give up other essential trainings in the classroom. For example, the capabilities of critical thinking may no longer be emphasized, because they cannot be effectively evaluated as a part of the students’ academic performance. Similarly, the abilities to collaborate with peers and to clearly convey one’s original ideas are also important components of one’s education. Those abilities, among many more, cannot be fully assessed in exams. Of course, some may argue that a student’s academic performance can include more than exams. The aforementioned abilities can also be part of the evaluation of a student. In my opinion, while this is true in theory, in practice taking all those abilities into account remains extremely difficult. The main reason is that there is no objective standard of those abilities that educators can refer to. For example, how to quantify the effectiveness of collaboration in school? Given these considerations, schools will most likely keep using numerical scores to reflect the academic performance of the students, thereby not solving the problem of teachers shifting from giving real education to improving students’ exam scores.


In conclusion, although it cannot be denied that when teachers’ salaries are dependent on the exam scores of the students, the students will receive more attention, this policy proposal has some serious long-term detrimental effects on the quality of education. Hence, I object to this proposal.

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