The disaster of "teacher incentives" in Andhra Pradesh

Transfer process of teachers is a complex issue, involving both administrative and political dimensions. Many states do not have codified transfer policies, leaving the postings to the whim of ministers. 

Fortunately, AP has a codified policy due to the efforts of ex-secretary of Education, Shri Poonam Malakondaiah, IAS. In this system, each teacher is given points according to several criteria - location of present posting (more points for interior areas), health, spouse, extra academic achievements etc. The posting is decided as per one's points. The one with highest points gets to  first choose the place he/she wants.

All was well till recently, when the government decided to add points for CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Education) grades of students. It means that if a teacher's students have high grades in CCE, he/she will get more points.

This is fundamentally against the spirit of CCE, which was to use students' performance in CCE as a feedback process, and to make testing a low stake process. Using CCE grades to award points in teacher transfer process is misuse of the grades besides making it high stakes for teachers.

In context of weak capacity and weak monitoring, the inevitable happened. Many teachers inflated grades of their students to gain points in the transfer systems. In some cases, "B" is the least grade that any student in a class received. A section of teachers have done a huge protest in Amaravati recently, regarding this, but in vain.

Despite huge evidence on the perversions of high stakes incentive systems for teachers (check my book for summary), the intuitive carrot-stick approach still seems to remain the prevalent form of enhancing performance. Teacher performance in most cases can't be enhanced by using a whip or linking performance to money. The sooner we realise the dangers of this and get into tough work of focusing on fundamentals, the better. Else, we will keep wasting energies on such issues.

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