Many companies offer cash bonuses thinking it’ll improve employee performance. But a recent study shows that may not be money well spent, giving those who are against merit pay programs another feather in their cap.
Teachers at five Utah schools took part in a performance pay pilot program where the size of their bonuses was tied to student grades.
Result: Cash incentives alone didn’t have a noticeable impact on how well students did in class.
The Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah just wrapped up an assessment of the program. It found that while some schools performed better on student assessments, on the whole no noticeable difference in students’ assessment scores was achieved.
Under the program, teachers received bonuses on three criteria:
- 40% of individual bonuses were based on student achievement
- 40% on quality of instruction, and
- 20% on parent satisfaction.
Bonuses ranged from $500 to $2,600, with the average paid out being $1,786.
Some involved in the assessment weren’t sure if the bonuses offered were large enough to motivate teachers to improve.
One bright spot: 55% of participating teachers surveyed about the program said they increased communication with parents.