Special Report
States

States Experiment With Pay for Performance

January 03, 2008 5 min read
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Even among the small number of states with pay-for-performance programs, the particulars vary widely. Below are some details.

ALASKA
Alaska School Performance Initiative Program

  • Implemented: September 2007
  • Participation: 43 schools in 2007-08
  • Focus: Rewards based on whole-school performance
  • Criteria for rewards: Student growth on annual state tests
  • Incentives go to: All school employees
  • Amount of award: $1,000 to $5,500
  • Nature of compensation: Bonus on top of base pay
  • State funding for the 2008-09 school year: $2.3 million

ARIZONA
Career-Ladder Program

  • Implemented: 1985
  • Participation: Funded in 28 districts since 1993
  • Focus: Career ladder
  • Criteria for rewards: Gains in student performance, improved teacher skills, increased teacher responsibility, professional growth
  • Incentives go to: Teachers
  • Amount of award: $3,000 to $7,000
  • Nature of compensation: Bonus on top of base pay
  • State funding for the 2008-09 school year: $76.5 million

Classroom Site Fund

  • Implemented: 2000
  • Participation: All districts
  • Focus: Districts have latitude to design the plans
  • Criteria for rewards: Districts must use 40 percent of the funds for performance pay for teachers.
  • Incentives go to: Teachers
  • Amount of award: Varies by district
  • Nature of compensation: Bonus on top of base pay
  • State funding for the 2008-09 school year: $358 million (latest available data)

ARKANSAS
Rewarding Excellence in Achievement Program

  • Implemented: 2007
  • Participation: Districts, public schools, and charter schools must apply for funds by March 2008, with phase-in starting in the 2008-09 school year.
  • Focus: Rewards based on individual teacher performance
  • Criteria for rewards: At least 51 percent of teachers at a participating school have to agree to the plan. Between 40 percent and 60 percent of the reward will be based on gains in student achievement, and the rest will be based on principal and peer evaluations. Plan requires districts to revise traditional pay systems.
  • Incentives go to: Teachers
  • Amount of award: Not yet determined
  • Nature of compensation: Districts may embed rewards in pay schedule.
  • State funding for the 2008-09 school year: $2.5 million

FLORIDA
Merit Award Program

  • Implemented: March 2007
  • Participation: 23 districts have applied for 2007-08 and 2008-09; four others applied for 2008-09 only
  • Focus: Rewards based on individual or instructional-team performance that leads to student growth and/or proficiency on state and district-level tests
  • Criteria for rewards: 60 percent of each teacher’s assessment based on growth in performance and/or proficiency of the individual teacher’s students; 40 percent based on principal evaluations
  • Incentives go to: Administrators, teachers, and other instructional personnel, including guidance counselors and instructional coaches
  • mount of award: At least 5 percent, but no more than 10 percent, of the district’s average teacher salary
  • Nature of compensation: Reward on top of base pay
  • State funding for 2007-08 school year: Legislature awarded $147.5 million, but revoked that amount in October because of a budget shortfall.

MINNESOTA
Q-Comp, or Quality Compensation Program

  • Implemented: 2005
  • Participation: 39 districts, 21 charter schools in 2007-08 school year
  • Focus: Rewards based on multiple indicators, including student growth on annual state tests and teachers’ professional development
  • Criteria for rewards: Districts applying for Q-Comp funds must change their teacher-pay systems to include the following components: a career ladder and career-advancement options for teachers, professional development, a standards-based teacher-evaluation system, performance pay, and an alternative salary schedule.
  • Incentives go to: Teachers
  • Amount of award: Varies by district
  • Nature of compensation: Districts may embed rewards into pay schedule, or award as bonus pay.
  • State funding for 2007-08 school year: $78 million

NORTH CAROLINA
ABCs of Public Education

  • Implemented: 1996
  • Participation: 115 districts, plus 98 charter schools, in the 2006-07 school year
  • Focus: Rewards based on whole-school performance
  • Criteria for rewards: End-of-grade and end-of-course test results; also includes some nontest components, such as high school dropout rates
  • Incentives go to: All certified staff members and teachers’ aides
  • Amount of award: $1,500 per year for certified staff and $500 for teachers’ aides in schools exceeding expected growth standards; $750 per year for certified staff in schools and $375 for teachers’ aides in schools that meet expected growth standards
  • Nature of compensation: Bonus on top of base pay
  • State funding for 2006-07 school year: $103 million (latest available data)

TEXAS
Governor’s Educator Excellence Award Program—Texas Educator Excellence Grant

  • Implemented: 2006
  • Participation: 1,046 schools in 2008-09
  • Focus: Schools with the highest number of high-poverty students that demonstrate the highest levels of student achievement or comparable improvement, as measured through the state accountability system
  • Criteria for rewards: Eligible schools that rank within the top half of campuses with the highest number of high-poverty students and receive ratings of “exemplary” or “recognized” in the state accountability system; also, campuses that rank in the top quartile for comparable improvement in math, reading, or both
  • Incentives go to: Teachers, principals, and other campus personnel who contribute to improved student achievement
  • Amount of award: $3,000 to $10,000 per teacher, unless otherwise approved by the campus, district, and local school board
  • Nature of compensation: Bonus on top of base pay
  • State funding for 2008-09 school year: $97.5 million

Return to the Main Story

Return to the main story, Advancing Pay for Performance.

District Awards for Teaching Excellence

  • Implemented: 2007
  • Participation: 510 school districts in 2008-09
  • Focus: Rewards go to teachers who improve student academic achievement. Funds can also be used, among other purposes, to recruit and retain teachers, provide professional development, and reward principals and other school employees.
  • Criteria for rewards: Districts participate in technical assistance, design their own financial-award systems that meet local needs, and promote student academic improvement.
  • Incentives go to: Teachers, principals, and other school employees
  • Amount of award: $3,000 or more. Districts may decrease award to less than $3,000 with local school board approval (minimum $1,000).
  • Nature of compensation: Bonus on top of base pay
  • State funding for 2008-09 school year: $147.5 million

SOURCE: Education Week

In March 2024, Education Week announced the end of the Quality Counts report after 25 years of serving as a comprehensive K-12 education scorecard. In response to new challenges and a shifting landscape, we are refocusing our efforts on research and analysis to better serve the K-12 community. For more information, please go here for the full context or learn more about the EdWeek Research Center.

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