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Performance Pay for Teachers: A Comparative Multi-Case Study
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Voluminous studies of performance-based compensation for teachers have been conducted to ascertain the dynamics of programs that are successful in improving teacher effectiveness and in turn student achievement. Few studies have concentrated on what the perceptions of teachers are on performance-based compensation models and what they consider fair and equitable components and structures of such models. This study surveyed four school districts that had the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) model and four school districts that did not have a performance pay model associated with their school districts. The research questions that guided the study were: “How do teachers in TAP school districts perceive the performance pay components of TAP?” and “How do teachers in non-performance pay schools perceive performance pay program components?” and finally, “How do these two groups of teachers’ perceptions compare to one another about performance pay models?” Comparing the findings from the data analysis, both the TAP and non-TAP districts agreed that performance pay components might cause resentment among staff members, undermine staff morale, and create an atmosphere where teachers would be less willing to assist colleagues. Focus group interviews were conducted at three campuses from a TAP school district to gain in-depth insight on how teachers really perceived the components of the specific program implementation in their school district. Four themes emerged from the data analysis of the focus group interviews: (a) transparency and communication of procedures, (b) reliability of observations and evaluations of teachers, (c) additional workload for teachers not worth the extra pay, and (d) increased professional development worthwhile. While studies show that implementation of the TAP program with fidelity has increased student achievement based on test scores, the results of this study suggested that performance pay components within the surveyed schools was not a favorable way of increasing teacher pay. Future research should include compensation models that can be constructed without using test scores as a major component and increasing the amount of teacher input to construct the program.
Gouard, Jimmy S. (2015). Performance Pay for Teachers: A Comparative Multi-Case Study. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from