Texas has awarded researchers at Vanderbilt University a $380,000 grant to study whether the state’s merit-pay plan for teachers has helped improve student achievement and retain teachers.
The newly created National Center on Performance Incentives at the university in Nashville, Tenn., will study the performance-pay plan that began as a pilot in 100 schools last school year. For the current year, 1,119 of 1,151 eligible public schools received a total of $95.5 million to reward teachers whose students perform better on tests.
Matthew Springer, the principal investigator for the project at Vanderbilt, said he and his colleagues would start out by evaluating 100 schools that have received grants, and examine the effect of teacher bonuses on student achievement, teacher turnover, mobility, and quality, as well as teacher behavior.
The study will be conducted over three years.
Under the Texas Educator Excellence Grant program, teachers can each receive as much as $10,000 a year for raising student test scores and for helping improve overall student performance at their schools.
The grants are available to schools with the highest numbers of educationally disadvantaged students, and those that have shown significant improvement in students’ academic growth.
Gov. Rick Perry has said he will seek to expand funding for the program to $330 million by 2008-09.
A version of this article appeared in the January 24, 2007 edition of Education Week