September 22, 2010

Merit pay study confirms teacher bonuses don't raise test scores

Source: NYSUT Communications

This week, the National Center on Performance Incentives issued study results that found performance pay to individual teachers, provided without other supports for teachers, did not help students.

From the September 21, 2010 edition of USA Today:

Merit pay study: Teacher bonuses don't raise student test scores

By Christopher Connell, The Hechinger Report

NASHVILLE - Offering middle-school math teachers bonuses up to $15,000 did not produce gains in student test scores, Vanderbilt University researchers reported Tuesday in what they said was the first scientifically rigorous test of merit pay.

The results (pdf) could amount to a cautionary flag about paying teachers for the performance of their students, a reform strategy the Obama administration and many states and school districts have favored despite lukewarm support or outright opposition from teachers' unions.

Read the complete article at USAToday.com and download the Vanderbilt study (PDF) .

AFT President Randi Weingarten weighs in:

"This study confirms that performance pay for individual teachers is not a silver bullet. Simply providing the motivational carrot of individual bonuses to teachers for test scores does not work. Education reform that actually improves teaching and learning requires a much more comprehensive approach, not just the implementation of one strategy, such as performance pay, on its own. It's time to end our love affair with simplistic strategies that don't get us where we need to be, in order to provide a great education for all children. There is a role for performance pay as part of a robust education reform plan, but as this and several other studies show, it doesn't work by itself to boost test scores."

Read Weingarten's complete statement