Performance Pay: Arkansas

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


The state should support performance pay but in a manner that recognizes its appropriate uses and limitations.

Meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Performance Pay: Arkansas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Arkansas's policies

Arkansas supports performance pay initiatives. The state's Alternative Pay Program requires the use of "a variety of objective criteria that are credible, clear, specific, measurable indicators of student achievement, and generally accepted best practices to determine pay." The program requires that not more than 50 percent of its eligibility requirements or alternative pay be related to annual increases in test scores. Also, the alternative pay must be at least 10 percent of the teacher's salary.

Arkansas also supports the Rewarding Excellence in Achievement Program (REAP). The state's REAP requires a comprehensive school improvement plan, including the use of assessment tools to measure student performance, performance goals and benchmark improvement and a data reporting system about students and their academic progress.


Recommendations for Arkansas

State response to our analysis

Arkansas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

Research on merit pay in 28 industrialized countries from Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance found that students in countries with merit pay policies in place were performing at a level approximately one year's worth of schooling higher on international math and science tests than students in countries without such policies (2011). 

Erik Hanushek found that a teacher one standard deviation above the mean effectiveness annually generates $400,000 in student future earnings for a class size of 20. See Hanushek, Erik A. "The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality," National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 16606 (December 2010).

In addition, numerous conference papers published by the National Center on Performance Incentives reinforce the need to recognize the limitations and appropriate uses of performance pay. See: