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Merit Pay Doesn’t Cause Teachers to Teach to the Test, Study Finds

An experiment in which high school teachers were paid more based on their students’ test results suggests that the bonuses didn’t simply lead teachers to teach to the test, undermining one of the main objections to basing teacher compensation on test scores.

The study does not conclusively answer why merit-pay programs seem not to have worked in the United States, however. Nor does it solve a crucial puzzle in public education: whether there is a better way to pay teachers, and if so, what it is.