I don’t know a lot about India, except that a whole lot of people live there and my parents love the food (Me? I’ll stick with hot dogs and mac & cheese). But then yesterday I found this story about a study of India’s education system (PDF):
We find that the teacher performance pay program was highly effective in improving student learning. At the end of two years of the program, students in incentive schools performed significantly better than those in comparison schools by 0.28 and 0.16 standard deviations (SD) in math and language tests respectively….
We find no evidence of any adverse consequences as a result of the incentive programs. Incentive schools do significantly better on both mechanical components of the test (designed to reflect rote learning) and conceptual components of the test (designed to capture deeper understanding of the material),suggesting that the gains in test scores represent an actual increase in learning outcomes. Students in incentive schools do significantly better not only in math and language (for which there were incentives), but also in science and social studies (for which there were no incentives), suggesting positive spillover effects….
School-level group incentives and teacher-level individual incentives perform equally well in the first year of the program, but the individual incentive schools significantly outperformed the group incentive schools in the second year….
More research-based evidence that merit pay works! How much it transfers from the land of curry, na’an, and basmati rice to our own USA is up for debate. But it’s not like we haven’t seen similar results from studies in our own country.
Denver’s ProComp (PDF) was just a start. While merit pay should apply to school leaders as well as principals, and compensation reform isn’t the only promising strategy to improve education out comes, it certainly is an important approach to adopt. So let’s get to it!