Document Type


Publication Date



Merit pay, high-quality teachers

Series Title

Office for Education Policy

Series Number

Volume 04 Issue 01


Merit pay is a timely education policy issue being discussed by educators and legislators and in schools and statehouses across the country. Merit pay is a broad term used to describe a variety of incentive-based K-12 educator compensation plans. Given that the opposing sides of this controversial issue passionately argue its validity as a policy solution, how can policymakers decide whether to endorse such plans, and what does the research suggest are the features of effective plans? In an effort to educate policymakers about the issue in general and to assist interested parties in evaluating proposed merit pay programs, the OEP presents background of merit pay programs, the arguments of advocates and opponents, an overview of merit pay plans in the US and in Arkansas, a summary of relevant research, and finally recommendations for identifying or designing the quality plans.