Evidence for Learning: Performance pay

Performance pay

A summary of the research evidence on performance pay in the Australasian context.

The Teaching & Learning Toolkit focuses on impact; it presents an estimate of the average impact of performance pay on learning progress, based on the synthesis of a large number of quantitative studies from around the world.

This page offers a summary and analysis of individual Australasian studies on performance pay. In contrast to the Toolkit it includes studies which do not estimate impact, but instead investigate the implementation of interventions and how they are perceived by school leaders, teachers and students. This information is valuable for school leaders and teachers interested in finding out more about particular examples of performance pay interventions that have been delivered in Australia and New Zealand.

This Australasian Research Summary was generated by Melbourne Graduate School of Education in 2016. 

Studies are yet to examine the impact of teacher performance pay on student academic achievement in Australasian contexts. This is likely due to the absence of performance pay in the current industrial relations agreements of Australian and New Zealand school education.

Ingvarson and Rowe (2008) have examined how performance pay might be, and why it has not yet been, implemented in the Australian schooling context. The authors mentioned performance pay as an incentive for assuring and/​or encouraging teacher quality. However, at the time, there were limited methods for gathering data about teacher performance and quality, as well as issues with developing certification for high standard performance across the entire profession. Despite the hurdles associated with the introduction of incentives, the authors suggested that some professional bodies might be inclined to do so, as evidenced in their development of professional standards. Nevertheless, no links were made between the possibility of performance pay/​incentives and anticipated change in academic outcomes. Importantly, since the article was published, the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers have been developed and implemented nationally.

Ingvarson, L., & Rowe, K. (2008). Conceptualising and evaluating teacher quality: Substantive and methodological issues. Australian Journal of Education, 52(1), 5 – 35.

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Performance/​incentive pay; teacher incentives; performance-related pay.