Teacher Merit Pay

Published: January 17 2007


Eager students bring an apple for the teacher. Now, a University of Florida study shows teacher merit pay leads to juicy results- better test scores by their pupils. UF researchers surveyed more than five hundred U.S. schools. Results show students in schools that pay bonuses to teachers scored one to two percentage points higher on standardized tests than kids in schools that offered no bonuses. Here’s UF researcher David Figlio:

Figlio: “The schools that did enact teacher merit pay programs or other forms of performance based pay were doing better than the schools that were not. This is especially true in the case of schools that served low socio-economic status populations.”

Some teacher unions have called bonus plans unfair, but experts say the programs that work best do single out teachers.

Figlio: “The next step would be for school districts and states to experiment with teacher merit pay programs and for us to continue to study and see what seems to be working in what settings and which setups and what seems to not be working very well.”

About sixteen percent of U.S. schools are using merit pay plans. The federal government is encouraging more schools to pursue them.

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