Pay Scales: Maryland

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


The state should give local districts authority over pay scales.

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

Analysis of Maryland's policies

Maryland gives local districts the authority for pay scales, eliminating barriers such as state salary schedules and other regulations that control how districts pay teachers. The state allows each county board to appoint all teachers and "set their salaries."


Recommendations for Maryland

Discourage districts from tying compensation to advanced degrees.
While still leaving districts the flexibility to establish their own pay scale, Maryland should articulate policies that definitively discourage districts from tying compensation to advanced degrees, in light of the extensive research showing that such degrees do not have an impact on teacher effectiveness.

Discourage salary schedules that imply that teachers with the most experience are the most effective.
Similarly, Maryland should articulate policies that discourage districts from determining the highest steps on the pay scale solely by seniority. 

State response to our analysis

Maryland disagreed with this analysis. Maryland asserted that employment and labor issues remain under the autonomous authority of the local school system. However, the Education Reform Act of 2010 allows teachers and principals designated as Highly Effective under a revised evaluation system being piloted to receive locally negotiated financial incentives to work in low-achieving schools. This connects the new evaluation system to compensation. Additionally, in an effort to actively support effective models, the Maryland Department of Education has grants available through Race to the Top to local school systems that allow teachers and principals to receive incentives upon being rated Highly Effective. Finally, as part of local RTTT funding, superintendents, human resources officers and local union leaders are currently convened into the Performance Compensation Workgroup, which is exploring various incentive and compensation models after examining models from five local Maryland districts that already have such programs. MSDE has convened this group and is supporting this work.

Last word

Financial incentives are addressed in Goals 4-E and 4-F. NCTQ sees no point of disagreement between the analysis and the state's response.

Research rationale

For evidence that degree status does not increase teacher effectiveness and should therefore not be automatically rewarded in teacher salary schedules, see the following:

C. Clotfelter, H. Ladd and J. Vigdor, "How and Why do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?" National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper No. 12828 (2007); S. Rivkin, E. Hanushek, and J. Kain, "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement." Econometrica (2005); R. Ehrenberg and D. Brewer, "Do School and Teacher Characteristics Matter? Evidence from High School and Beyond," Economics of Education Review, 1994; 14: 1-23. (Ehrenberg and Brewer found that an increase in the percentage of teachers with master's degrees was associated with lower gains among white students but higher gains among black students.); R. Murnane, The Impact of School Resources on the Learning of Inner City Children, (Cambridge, MA: Harper Collins, 1975); H. Kiesling, "Assignment Practices and the Relationship of Instructional Time to the Reading Performance of Elementary School Children," Economics of Education Review, 1984; 3(4): 341-50.B. Rowan, et al., "What Large-scale, Survey Research Tells Us About the Teacher Effects on Student Achievement: Insights from the Prospects Study of Elementary Schools," Teachers College Record (2002); 104(8): 1525-67.R. Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal on Legislation, 1991; 28: 465-98.D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "Evaluating the Effect of Teacher Degree Level on Educational Performance," Developments in School Finance, ed. W. Fowler, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1997, 199-210.

For data on the high cost of salary differentials based on advanced degrees, see Marguerite Roza and Raegan Miller, July 2009, "Separation by Degrees," Center for American Progress.

For evidence that experience does not directly correlate with teacher effectiveness, and therefore should not be the sole determinate of the highest steps on a pay scale, see the following:

J. King Rice "The Impact of Teacher Experience: Examining the Evidence and Policy Implications." CALDER: Urban Institute (2010); S. Rivkin, E. Hanushek, and J. Kain, "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement." Econometrica (2005); C. Clotfelter, H. Ladd, and J. Vigdor, "How and Why Do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?" National Bureau of Economic Research (2007); Kukla-Acevedo, "Do Teacher Characteristics Matter? New Results on the Effects of Teacher Preparation on Student Achievement." Economics of Education Review (2009); E. Hanushek and S. Rivkin, "How to Improve the Supply of High Quality Teachers." Brookings Institute (2004). 

For information about alternative compensation for teachers, see the following:

Teaching Commission and USC California Policy Institute, "Understanding Alternative Teacher Compensation," USC California Policy Institute, 2005.Jennifer Azordegan, et al., "Diversifying Teacher Compensation: The Teaching Commission and Education Commission of the States," ECS (2005); Minnesota Department of Education, "Quality Compensation for Teacher (Q Comp) Contains Five Basic Components."