Recent reforms in teacher evaluation tie these evaluations to student performance as measured by test scores and merit pay has been offered as a way to reward high test scores and improve teacher performance. Thus, the federal Race to the Top program has led several states toward teacher evaluation instruments that incorporate outcome data in the form of student achievement. In most states, this is the first step in the plan to institute a pay for performance program for teachers, also known as merit pay. This paper analyzes the concept of merit pay through the lens of equity theory. Equity theory provides a framework to organize a workplace that is equitable, consistent, and free of self-interest. Readers are challenged to consider the implications of merit pay in light of equity theory and resultant issues for educational policy and practice.
Horne, Jason; Foley, Virginia P.; and Flora, Bethany H.. 2014. Race to the Paycheck: Merit Pay and Theories of Teacher Motivation. Journal of Academic Administration in Higher Education. Vol.10(1). 35-39.