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Nothing Matters More Than a Quality Teacher

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Nothing Matters More Than a Quality Teacher. Research confirms that Teacher Quality is the most important school-related factor affecting student learning. What is the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP)?.

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Nothing Matters More Than a Quality Teacher

Research confirms that Teacher Quality is the most important school-related factor affecting student learning

What is the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP)?
  • The Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) is a research-based school improvement model designed to attract, retain and motivate the best talent to the teaching profession.
    • The comprehensive TAP system is built on four elements:
    • multiple career paths
    • instructionally-focused evaluations
    • performance-based compensation
    • ongoing applied professional growth
  • At dozens of TAP demonstration schools nationwide, and at 14 schools here in Arkansas, educators are offered support and incentives to develop, share and implement teaching strategies that improve student learning. Their efforts are rewarded by enhanced professionalism, compensation and leadership opportunities. In this way TAP can transform teaching into a much more dynamic career that will ensure a quality education for all of America's children.
How do we recruit and retain?

Results from the South Carolina working conditions survey administered statewide in April 2005 indicate that leadership, the work environment, the opportunity for continuous improvement, career advancement opportunities and the ability to interact and work with professional colleagues also draws teachers to work in hard-to-staff schools. The survey also yielded a significant connection between retention and professional development at all levels (Emerick, 2005).

How Teacher Performance is Measured


by Approved


Determined by


with TAP

Rubrics and




Teacher Value added


Teacher Skills,

Knowledge and



School-wide Value added




Sample Indicator from the

Instructional Rubric

Questions Teachers Ask About TAP’s

Performance-based Compensation

  • How are the bonus awards calculated?
  • How much is the bonus award pool?
  • Can I lose money by doing TAP?
  • How can the TAP performance-based compensation system be fair when 50% of my bonus award is based on student performance, and I have the most difficult students in the school?
  • What if I don’t have a particular classroom of students, how will my bonus be calculated?
  • What if I am a PE or art teacher and my area is not measured on the test used to figure student value-added learning gains, how will my bonus be calculated?
  • How do the bonus award pools work? Will I be in competition for award money with my fellow teachers? What is to keep master and mentor teachers from scoring me lower on my evaluation so they can get higher bonus awards?
  • If the master and mentor teachers are the best teachers in the school, won’t they always get the highest bonus award?
  • Who will be eligible for performance awards?
Successes in South Carolina

Of the 366 teachers surveyed in 2005–06, 93 percent said they were neutral or strongly supported increased accountability, and 70 percent indicated they were neutral or strongly supported the concept of pay for performance.

Prior to participating in the TAP program, teacher turnover was a serious problem at Bell Street Middle School. Nearly 40 percent of teachers left the school in 1999–2000 and 32 percent left the next year. After the introduction of TAP in the 2001–02 school year, teacher turnover had dropped to below 10 percent in 2003–04 and 2004–05.

Spaulding Elementary in Darlington had always received a report card rating of ‘Unsatisfactory’ with low improvement scores. After the first year of TAP implementation, their score jumped to ‘Below Basic’ with an improvement rating of ‘Good.’

State Superintendent Of Education
  • Jim Rex's plan to improve South Carolina's schools

4.  Elevating and reinvigorating our teaching profession.Jim believes that we must commit to elevating the teaching profession, once again, in our society.  He knows that teachers are not the problem Ð they are an essential part of the solution to the problems facing public education in South Carolina.  As State Superintendent of Education, he will work to change the dialogue about the teaching profession in South Carolina and bring to an end the all-too-often unjustified criticism of teachers and their chosen profession.  He will work to recruit, retain, and reward the best and brightest and ensure a quality teaching force for the next generation.