Education Funding Report Roundup

Performance Pay Proves Challenging

By Stephen Sawchuk — September 23, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

An early study of a federal program that awards performance-based pay finds that districts didn’t always adhere to all of its components, and that they seem to have struggled to communicate program goals and features to teachers.

On the upside, participating teachers generally said they were happy with the performance measures used to evaluate them, and didn’t feel that collaboration in their schools decreased as a result—one of the oft-cited complaints about such programs.

The study, conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education by Mathematica Policy Research, was released last week. It represents districts from the 2010 awards; the data come from the 2011-12 school year.

The Teacher Incentive Fund, begun in 2006, awards grants to states, districts, and nonprofits to implement performance-based pay programs for teachers and principals. Among other provisions, districts are to adopt measures of educator effectiveness, establish a pay-for-performance bonus system based on those measures, give extra bonuses to teachers who take on added roles and responsibilities, and provide professional development.

The study notes that:

•Although 80 percent of districts met the requirement to use test scores and observations to measure teacher effectiveness, just 46 percent included all four required components.

•Even though the program specified that awards should be reserved for educators who were far better than average, districts were prepared to give them to more than 90 percent of eligible educators.

•In a subset of 10 districts, fewer than half of teachers thought they were eligible for the bonus, even though all were. They also perceived the award amounts to be much lower than they actually were.

A version of this article appeared in the September 24, 2014 edition of Education Week as Performance Pay Proves Challenging


Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!

Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Opinion Don’t Plan on That Federal Education Spending Spree
A Democratic spending spree once depicted as inevitable is shrinking before our eyes, meaning big implications for education.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Education Funding Feds Pump $1.5 Billion Extra Toward Schools to Address Cafeteria Food Shortage
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced funds to help schools more easily purchase U.S.-grown foods amid widespread supply shortages.
1 min read
Empty school cafeteria
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding Letter to the Editor More Money for Schools Isn’t the Answer
The real problem is not funding but demands that teachers do more than just teach their subject, writes Walt Gardner.
1 min read
Education Funding Opinion Manchin Just Downsized the Dems’ Massive Education Spending Plans
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin may have blown a gaping hole in the education community’s hopes for supersized new federal outlays.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty