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Study suggests pay-for-performance could have benefits for teacher retention, standardized test scores

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 07, 2010 17:42 PM

Many educators have fought the idea of receiving compensation that is based on their students' performance on standardized tests. However, a new study is suggesting that this form of compensating educators may in fact have beneficial factors, such as teacher retention and higher test scores.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University, Rand Corporation and the University of Missouri found that Texas school districts that enacted larger bonuses for pay-for-performance saw better results. The study was published by the National Center on Performance Incentives (NCPI). However, the study noted that the majority of districts chose to spread the money around, allowing more teachers to receive a slight boost.

Researchers noted that overall, districts that participated in the state-funded District Awards for State Excellence (D.A.T.E.) program had less of an educator turnover and higher student achievement.

"Our findings suggest that, more often than not, participants in the D.A.T.E. program had a positive experience, student achievement gains and teacher turnover moved in a generally desirable direction and teachers had favorable attitudes towards D.A.T.E.," said Jessica Lewis, research associate at NCPI and co-author of the report.