Best Practices for Teacher Merit Pay Systems

Best Practices for Teacher Merit Pay Systems

The following post presents research or analyses from outside KASB and is presented for information purposes. KASB neither endorses nor refutes the conclusions or recommendations contained herein.

As teacher merit pay continues to receive media attention in Kansas, KASB is reviewing pertinent research on the topic.  

A report released in February by the Center for American Progress (CEP) discusses lessons learned by 10 school districts that implemented teacher merit pay systems.  CEP is “an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.”

The report indicated that all districts considered the following elements in their merit pay systems:
  • Base salary
  • Teacher effectiveness
  • Speed of salary growth
  • Career pathway opportunities
  • Incentives for hard-to-staff schools and positions
  • Bonuses, rewards, and recognition
  • Opt-in timeframe

From these components, the following best practices emerged:
  1. Differentiate compensation based on roles and responsibilities.
  2. Set starting salaries to meet market demand.
  3. Align teacher compensation redesign with fair and proven teacher evaluation systems.
  4. Shift pay away from years of experience and advanced degree attainment.
  5. Use compensation incentives to attract highly effective teachers to hard-to-staff schools, districts, and subjects.
  6. Emphasize extra pay for effectiveness and career pathways instead of small bonuses.
  7. Accelerate the timeline to earning the maximum salary where possible.
  8. Allow teachers to opt-in to new compensation systems within a set timeframe.

For more details, see the full report.