How Effective Is Teacher Merit Pay?

April 17, 2017

Teacher Merit Pay and Student Test Scores: A Meta-Analysis

Teacher merit pay has garnered significant attention as a promising reform method for improving teacher performance and, more importantly, student achievement scores. This meta-analysis, which examined findings from 44 studies of teacher merit pay, found that merit pay is associated with a modest, statistically significant, positive effect on student test scores. The research also found that not all merit pay programs are equal. The best results are dependent on constructing efforts that incorporate sound, evidence-based practice elements. The authors of the meta-analysis concluded that while a merit pay program has the potential to improve student test scores, success hinges on school administrators and policymakers paying close attention to how the program is structured and implemented. The meta-analysis also recognized the need for additional research to better delineate features and practice elements that produce the best results.

Citation: Pham, L., Nguyen, T., & Springer, M. (2017). Teacher Merit Pay and Student Test Scores: A Meta-Analysis. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University.