The idea of tying teachers’ pay to their students’ math and reading scores is being promoted by some school policymakers as a way to improve schools’ performance. Advocates base their support on two assumptions: first, that such merit pay is widespread in the private sector, and second, that student test scores can be a reliable gauge of how well teachers are doing their jobs. Both assumptions, according to a new research report issued today by the Economic Policy Institute, are faulty.
In Teachers, Performance Pay, and Accountability: What Education Should Learn from Other Sectors Scott J. Adams, John S. Heywood and Richard Rothstein examine the evidence and conclude that merit pay systems based on quantitative measures are not – for good reason – widespread among private sector professionals and that such systems produce perverse consequences that often thwart the larger goal of improving the quality of services and outcomes.
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