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Performance-related pay and the teaching profession: a review of the literature
University of Exeter
Research Papers in Education
This paper examines and summarizes research into performance-related pay. It was undertaken as part of the Teachers' Incentive Pay Project, currently in progress at the University of Exeter, which is a study of the introduction of threshold assessment and performance management for teachers in schools in England and Wales. The paper examines research into the effects of pay on employees' behaviour and considers the claimed benefits and disadvantages of performance-related pay, both generally and with particular reference to the teaching profession. Proponents of performance-related pay claim that it improves the motivation of employees and assists in the recruitment and retention of high quality staff. Disadvantages include: neglect of unrewarded tasks; disagreement about goals; competitiveness; lack of openness about failings; cost and the possibility of demotivating those who are not rewarded. Performance-related pay has long been a feature of teachers' remuneration in the US, where it has usually been promoted in response to national crises perceived to be rooted in educational failure. Traditionally, most US merit pay schemes for teachers have not been long lasting. This paper considers research into a variety of US schemes, including studies of the conditions under which they are found to succeed. Performance-related pay works best in situations in which there are easily measured outcomes, such as in manufacturing, but the outcomes of teaching are many and varied and there have been problems related to measuring teachers' effectiveness. The paper reports claims by Odden (2000) that measuring teachers' performance is now more feasible and that, therefore, the time is right for the introduction of performance-related pay for teachers.
This is a postprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in Research Papers in Education© 2002 Copyright Taylor & Francis; Research Papers in Education is available online at http://www.informaworld.com