This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A three-year study on performance pay for teachers found that one bonus-pay system in metro-Nashville schools had no overall impact on student achievement. You can read the Ed Week story about it here. Or you can read the report itself here.
It's a finding that's likely to have implications for schools nationwide as a number of states, including Utah, give performance pay a try (now, most teachers are paid based only on education and experience). This school year in Utah, for example, five schools will pay teachers up to an additional $2,000 each for boosting sudent achievement, for the quaiity of their instruction and for parent satisfaction, as part of a $300,000-a-year state funded pilot program. Utah also has some other schools doing pay for performance as part of other programs. Provo District, for example, is contemplating using some of its edujobs money to develop a pay for performance play. Northwest and Glendale middle schools also plan to pay some teachers up to 18 percent of their base pay for meeting student achievement goals as part of federal school improvement grants.
When I talked to Susan Burns, program manager at the National Center on Performance Incentives at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, in June, she said there wasn't much research definitively supporting performance pays' effectiveness in raising student achievement. We'll see if and how this new study out of that Vanderbilt University center affects the national, and state, conversation.