It remains unclear whether the merit pay program for teachers in Texas is yielding the results its proponents have advocated – higher student achievement.
But a two-year evaluation of the Texas Educator Excellence Grant program released Thursday shows that 90 percent of the eligible schools have participated in the voluntary initiative. That means teachers and schools are interested in the concept, said Matthew Springer, the lead author of the report and director of the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.
The study also found that turnover is lower among teachers who received bonus pay than those who did not.
The report said the greatest problem two years into the new system is that too many schools have to discontinue the program too quickly. A majority of the schools eligible to participate one year did not return the following year because they failed to meet eligibility requirements.
To be eligible, schools must have a high percentage of low-income students. They must also earn a recognized or exemplary state rating, or passing rates on the state math and reading tests must rank in the top quarter of Texas schools.