Performance Pay: Maryland

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


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

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Performance Pay: Maryland results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Maryland's policies

Maryland does not support performance pay. The state does not have any policies in place that offer teachers additional compensation based on evidence of effectiveness. 

Recommendations for Maryland

Support a performance pay plan that recognizes teachers for their effectiveness.
Whether it implements the plan at the state or local level, Maryland should ensure that performance pay structures thoughtfully measure classroom performance and connect student achievement to teacher effectiveness. The plan must be developed with careful consideration of available data and subsequent issues of fairness.

Consider piloting performance pay in a select number of school districts.
This would provide an opportunity to discover and correct any limitations in available data or methodology before implementing the plan on a wider scale. 

State response to our analysis

Maryland asserted that it meets this goal. The state noted that as part of Race to the Top, a Performance Compensation Work Group has been convened to develop guidelines for compensation and incentives for local school systems. These guidelines and structures will encourage pay-for-performance at the local level. The workgroup is comprised of representative stakeholders including local school systems and union members. Opportunities to implement and examine models of compensation based on performance are a part of the pilot evaluation process.

Last word

While Maryland's efforts are a step in the right direction, these efforts only "encourage" districts to consider offering teachers performance pay.

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: