US & World

New study shows teacher bonuses don't raise test scores

A study released today found that offering performance bonuses to teachers does nothing to raise test scores, raising doubts about the viability of the Obama administration's push for merit pay to improve education.

The study released by Vanderbilt University's National Center on Performance Incentives researchers found that students in classrooms where teachers received bonuses saw the same gains as the classes where educators got no incentive.

The study looked at fifth- through eighth-grade math teachers in Nashville Public Schools over three years from 2007 to 2009. Teachers could receive between $5,000 and $15,000 a year, depending on how their students performed on standardized tests.

The U.S. Department of Education called Vanderbilt's study too narrowly focused.