Performance Pay: Rhode Island

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Performance Pay: Rhode Island results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/RI-Performance-Pay-9

Analysis of Rhode Island's policies

Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island

Support a performance pay plan that recognizes teachers for their effectiveness.
Whether it implements the plan at the state or local level, Rhode Island 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

Rhode Island noted that under its Race to the Top grant, the state will support two pilot programs to examine performance pay models.

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: http://www.performanceincentives.org/.