The Merits of Merit Pay for Teachers

The merits of merit pay for teachers should be discussed by experts on merit pay and pay for performance.  Politicians, parents and other interested parties all have a lot to say about the topic, but the opinions of compensation professionals are often overlooked.

Here are some conditions generally considered necessary for the success of merit pay or performance-pay programs:

1. Performance objectives are defined, with clear output expectation standards communicated in advance.

2. Standards of performance are consistent among comparable jobs while still recognizing unique position circumstances and requirements.

3. The enterprise creates and communicates objective, valid and reliable performance measures so each employee can control their personal output measurement results.

4. Supervisors are trained in effective performance review and appraisal methods so they can note individual output results in areas where differences are worthy of attention.

5. Supervisors accurately differentiate on the basis of validated performance and frankly, but diplomatically, communicate their evaluations to the subordinates.

6. Mutual trust exists between supervisors and subordinates.

7. Pay ranges are wide enough to permit significant pay differences among peers.

8. The organization has both sufficient money and adequate determination to award substantially larger pay increases to better performers.

9. Pay structures are externally competitive and internally equitable.

It is difficult to accomplish any, much less all, of those prerequisite conditions in private industry where management has total control and much more difficult in most educational systems. A quick review of those criteria will show that few schools can meet most of those demands. Without the necessary environment to support merit pay, it cannot succeed.

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Comments

07/11/11 12:29 PM Steve
Steve says:
Merit pay is ludicrous in the private industry much less in the teaching industry. Good performance is by and large a result of the system and not an individual's contribution. With respect to teachers, their success is dependent on the students' willingness to do the work, ability to understand the material and determination to do what is required. The teacher can be the best and do his/her best and still have a classroom full of students who do not perform well either by choice or just ability; thus, to pay a teacher on performance is ludicrous.

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