The Merits of Merit Pay for Teachers
May 23, 2011
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.
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.