Threshold Assessment: the experiences of teachers who were unsuccessful in crossing the threshold
University of Exeter
Research Papers in Education
This paper, the second in a pair of articles, reports empirical research undertaken into the implementation of one of the UK government's strands of performance-related pay: Threshold Assessment (TA). This procedure was introduced in English primary and secondary schools in summer 2000. Although the recruitment and retention of teachers had become a growing concern for the government by that time, it would have been politically difficult to award teachers across the profession a pay increase without attaching any strings whatsoever. The Threshold Assessment procedure requires teachers to demonstrate that they have met a number of 'standards' in order to 'cross the threshold' and to receive a pay award (when first introduced, in 2000, this was 2,000). This then allows them access to an upper pay scale, although progression up this is linked to their performance via the Performance Management procedure which was also introduced into schools at that time. The Teachers' Incentive Pay Project, currently in progress at the University of Exeter, studied the implementation of the first round of the Threshold Assessment procedure. It examined the way in which the procedure was conducted across England by collecting data from head teachers, teachers and threshold assessors. Ninety seven per cent of teachers applying to cross the threshold in the first round in summer 2000 were successful. This paper focuses on the experiences of teachers who were unsuccessful in their bid to cross the threshold, having been deemed to have 'not yet met' the required standards (referred to in this paper as NYM or 'unsuccessful' teachers). A number of issues emerge including differences between schools in the way in which the procedure was approached and undertaken; relationship problems between head teachers and teachers; the support available to NYM teachers; the appropriateness of the current procedure for 'nonstandard' teachers such as advisory/learning support staff, supply teachers and part-timers; the procedure's impact on teacher performance.
This paper reports some of the key findings of the Teachers' Incentive Pay Project (TIPP), a three year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
This is a postprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in Research Papers in Education© 2003 Copyright Taylor & Francis; Research Papers in Education is available online at http://www.informaworld.com