Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Pay and Conditions - Majority of Students Asked to Rate Teachers

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Pay and Conditions - Majority of Students Asked to Rate Teachers

Article excerpt

Pisa finding triggers fear that feedback could influence staff pay.

Nearly two-thirds of the world's 15-year-olds are taught in schools that ask them for written feedback on the performance of teachers and the quality of lessons, new evidence suggests.

The widespread use of "student voice" by secondary schools across the globe was revealed in the latest edition of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which runs the influential education study, has endorsed the idea, noting a positive correlation between school performance and formal student feedback.

The revelation comes as an influential UK thinktank is calling for student feedback to be used to help determine teachers' pay. Teaching unions warned this week that allowing students' views to influence teacher salaries would "poison" the climate of trust needed for successful schools.

"There is a complete difference between taking student voice seriously and having that feed into teacher pay decisions," said Mary Bousted, general secretary of the UK Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

School questionnaires for Pisa 2012 asked principals for the first time whether they seek written feedback from students "regarding lessons, teachers or resources". The study shows that on average, across all 65 territories that participated, 65 per cent of students attend schools that seek their views.

Use of student feedback varied from 96 per cent of schools in New Zealand to 73 per cent in the UK and 13 per cent in France.

The Pisa report says that education systems and schools that use written student feedback "tend to perform better, even after accounting for the socio-economic status of students and schools". It also suggests a correlation between the use of student feedback and education systems with high levels of "equity" - where students' socio-economic background has less impact on performance.

Last year, a separate OECD report on school evaluation suggested that student feedback could form part of teacher appraisals, although it warned that it should not be used for "high-stakes accountability".

In England, however, where performance pay is being introduced for all teachers in September, thinktank Policy Exchange has recommended that student feedback be used alongside test scores and classroom observations to set teacher salary levels. …

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