Performance Pay: Utah

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

Analysis of Utah's policies

Utah supports performance pay. The state allows local districts to formulate career ladders regarding compensation. Advancement up the career ladder may be "contingent upon effective teaching performance, evidence of which may include formal evaluation and assessment of student progress." The state requires that student progress play a significant role in teacher evaluation, and formal preparation and successful teaching experience may also be considered for additional compensation. The amount of the award for effective performance is not addressed.


Recommendations for Utah

State response to our analysis

Utah recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Last word

NCTQ notes that Utah indicated the career ladder program is no longer funded in response to Goal 4-C.

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: