(KS) Lowering the requirements, and the salary too

New York Sun columnist Andrew Wolf notes that the state of NY can’t be too serious about finding a decent psychometrician to solve their testing problems, because they’re offering too little money for too few qualifications:

How do I know that the state isn’t serious about reforming its test programs? The job in question is the director of the Division of Educational Testing for the state, and the advertised salary for the post is $94,543 a year. After some unspecified period of time and “performance advances,” the salary could reach a maximum of $119, 658.

Let’s put this into perspective. This is about the pay scale of an elementary school principal in New York City. Middle and High School principals make more…

The requirements for the post also suggest that the state is not serious in finding a high-powered person. Only a non-specific Masters degree is required, which could be satisfied by an M.S. in animal husbandry, along with just seven years of educational experience , three of which must be in testing and assessment.

This may be a sign of desperation, as opposed to flippancy. Even non-managerial psychometrician positions usually require a Ph.D; a director’s position should include both that degree and substantial (over 10 years) experience. Those folks are few and far between, so moving the job requirement goalposts might be the only way New York sees to open up the applicant pool. Certainly, a person who possesses the doctorate and enough experience to do this job right is going to charge more than $119K and change.

I agree with Wolf that in this case, NY just might get what they pay for – and they might end up paying for it, later.

(Cross-posted at The Education Wonks.)


  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Isn’t this what they go to consultants for?

  2. Also to put this in perspective, let me point out that the job will be in Albany, not NYC, and that the starting salary exceeds many upstate school district superintendents.

  3. Rex,
    I’m not saying the job s/b equated with a superintendent’s job, but your comment is a bit misleading. Most superintendents in the Albany area make far more than $94K. the average salary for superintendents in Albany County is $131,329 (you can look it up here http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/mgtserv/adm_salary_secondpage.shtml) Only one superintendent makes less than $100K and that is a very small district (less than 200 kids). The superintendent for the Albany City School District makes $173,000.

  4. I’d take that job for that pay, and do a good job with it, too, even though I’m not qualified by those standards. How? Walter Wallis has the answer – I’d end up supervising consultants who were making more than me, but weren’t on the state payroll.

    For that level of responsibility, being able to understand the consultants is enough – one doesn’t need to be able to do their work.