Lessons Learned About Implementing Performance-Based Pay
(October 2008)


Research indicates that one of the most important factors in raising student achievement is a good teacher. We also know that, too often, our least experienced teachers are placed in our most challenging classrooms.

Traditional compensation systems are based on teachers' years of experience and the number of academic credits they have earned beyond a bachelor's degree. Neither of these factors, however, is closely linked with improved student performance. To create a better connection between this desired outcome and the compensation teachers receive for a job well done, many federal, state and local initiatives have been created to support the expansion of "performance-pay" programs. States as diverse as Texas, Minnesota, Florida, Alaska, and South Dakota have enacted statewide policies promoting performance pay for educators and administrators. Districtor school-based performance-pay programs exist in nearly every state.

The federal Teacher Incentive Fund supports districts in rewarding teachers and principals who have improved student achievement in high-need schools. Since the fund was initiated in 2006, new performance-pay models have been created and existing programs have expanded and evolved across the country.

This brochure highlights key insights that have emerged as the nation has gained more experience with performance-pay systems.

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Last Modified: 10/08/2008