Compensation Incentives to Boost Teacher Productivity: US Research Yields Disappointing Results
Author: Adam Gamoran Policy Research

Three rigorous studies of compensation incentives in the US indicate that paying higher salaries to more effective teachers does not lead to higher overall levels of student achievement.

The results were similar whether incentives were provided to individual teachers, or on a school-wide basis.  One interpretation of the findings is that teachers were motivated to improve performance, but lacked the tools to do so.  Other teacher quality initiatives should be evaluated with the same rigor as has been applied to the compensation reforms.

This paper appears in the Center’s annual publication State of the Nation Report – Society, Economy and Policy 2011-2012.

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