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Teacher Performance Pay Boosts Student Scores

October 15, 2020 • Catherine Rubiera

Teacher Performance Pay Boosts Student Scores

A four-year study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education shows that teacher performance pay does boost student scores.

Education Week reported the study, conducted from 2011 to 2015, shows student test scores were 1 to 2 percentile points higher in reading and math for students whose teachers received a performance bonus. This is equivalent to about four weeks of additional learning based on the increase.

Other findings in this study include:

  • Despite Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) guidance to make bonuses challenging to receive, most teachers (70 percent) were able to receive the bonus.
  • Bonuses varied widely across all four years, the maximum bonus was about four times the average bonus for that year.
  • About 40 percent of teachers did not know they were eligible for a performance bonus, even by the fourth year.  
  • Teachers who knew they were eligible underestimated the maximum amount they could earn and thought the largest amount that could be earned was two-fifths the actual amount available.  

For more information on the topic, check out the full study data and the Education Week article Teacher Performance Pay Boosts Student Scores.


Catherine Rubiera is a senior data analyst at TASB HR Services. Send Catherine an email at catherine.rubiera@tasb.org.


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Tagged: Compensation, "Employee performance"