In 2012 NZEI Te Riu Roa commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to look into how teachers are paid in different parts of the world.

These resources are intended to inform us about various approaches to teacher remuneration, including performance pay, as discussed in the research.

Why is this information important?

Teachers are skilled professionals. We function in a complex and creative world which requires us to have a wide range of conceptual, relational, and practical skills.

Some people appear to think that teachers are little more than process workers. Politicians who seem to promote this point of view appear to view teachers as factory workers employed to turn out a standardised product. They think that teachers should be paid more if their students do well in standardised tests, and less if their students are ‘below standard’. Just like a production line.

That is why some politicans like national standards. They think that students’ assessment results provide an easy way to identify good and bad teachers.

What is performance pay?

Paying teachers more when their students “do well” on standardised assessments is what we refer to as performance pay.

Lots of people are curious about performance pay. Many teachers think it is a bad idea. Some people are not completely sure if they understand the difference between performance pay and other ways of recognising and rewarding good teaching practice. The information on this page is important because it is all about making these different approaches crystal clear.

Is there a professionally valid alternative to performance pay?

Yes there is. It is possible to recognise a teacher’s expertise using rigorous criteria and objective processes. The Advanced Classroom Expertise Teacher (ACET or ACE Teacher) is an example of this.

The ACE Teacher allowance is very different to performance pay. It is a proactive step towards greater recognition of teacher knowledge and skill. It supports the professionalism of the teacher. Performance pay can effectively reduce teaching and learning to a production line, whereas the ACET recognises and encourages the innovation and creativity characteristic of quality teaching and learning.


PowerPoint presentation that outlines the findings of the ACER research

Full ACER report as presented to NZEI Te Riu Roa in November 2012

NZEI summary of the ACER report

A light hearted snakes and ladders game that takes us through the highs and lows of knowledge and skills based professional certification and merit based performance pay.