Teacher merit pay doesn’t improve test scores, creates cheaters

September 21, 2011

Freakonomics says that there’s been “some pretty damning evidence” proving that merit pay for teachers doesn’t work for teachers or their pupils. The research shows that merit pay, in a variety of shapes and sizes, fails to raise student performance.

Richard Rothstein, research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right:

“There is now substantial evidence that pay for performance does not even work on its own terms – reading and math scores don’t increase when teachers or entire schools are offered bonuses for higher scores. But even if pay for performance did work on its own terms, it would harm public education.”

Basing teacher’s pay on their students’ test scores led to teaching scandals in both Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

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