Performance Pay: Arizona

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: Arizona results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Arizona's policies

Arizona supports a performance pay initiative. The state's Career Ladder Program provides teachers with opportunities for advancement based on "improved or advanced teaching skills, evidence of pupil academic progress and higher-level instructional responsibilities."

The program requires that the placement of teachers on the Career Ladder be based on more than one measure of performance, including increasingly higher levels of student academic progress, the use of various methods of progress assessments by local districts and procedures for review of student progress. The restructured salary schedule must be based on performance and not on experience and education. 


Recommendations for Arizona

State response to our analysis

Arizona 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: