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ERIC Number: ED553385
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 1
Exploring the Possibility and Potential for Pay for Performance in America's Public Schools
Ellerson, Noelle M.
American Association of School Administrators
In response to a growing dialogue at the local, state and national levels around the idea of restructuring teacher pay to include performance measures, the American Association of School Administrators surveyed a randomly selected sample of its members to gauge their feedback and interest in pay-for-performance programs. AASA launched this survey in light of the renewed national conversation and feedback from AASA members who sense a shift in the tide of teacher compensation. For the purposes of this survey, AASA used the term "pay for performance" to represent a compensation system that uses financial incentives/motivation for employees. A total of 536 school administrators from 45 states completed the 10-question survey in May 2009. The majority of respondents were superintendents (86 percent) and associate or assistant superintendents (13 percent). Fifty-two percent of respondents came from rural districts, 35 percent from suburban districts, and 13 percent from urban districts. There is a diversity of opinion among school system leaders about pay for performance programs . Roughly 45 percent of respondents expressed moderate to strong interest in exploring pay-for-performance programs, whether at the individual, group or system level. More than 20 percent of respondents have no interest in exploring pay-for-performance programs at any level. Respondents think that any pay for performance model should be implemented across all educator levels. When asked which educators should receive performance-based pay, 15 percent said teachers, 14 percent said principals and 9 percent said administrators. An overwhelming majority--82 percent--said all three groups - teachers, principals and administrators--should be included in pay-for-performance plans. School administrators identified a variety of motivating factors, indicators and anticipated obstacles that influence their consideration of pay for performance. The number-one motivation to implement pay-for-performance is improving student achievement, followed by improving teacher effectiveness. Respondents identified a variety of system and individual indicators they would consider in a pay for performance model. Student achievement (89 percent) and teacher evaluations (68 percent) were the top two indicators. Teacher union resistance (75 percent), the capacity to link teacher evaluation and/or student achievement to evaluations (66 percent) and accuracy of performance measures (65 percent) were the top three anticipated obstacles. Successful implementation of pay-for-performance models will require an ongoing dialogue that involves all members of the education community to answer tough questions, covering everything from who is involved and what the model will look like to how the model will be evaluated and sustained. As the dialogue around pay for performance moves forward, it is vital to recognize that the prevalence and structure of pay for performance in America's public schools is not--and should not be--identical to that of the private sector. Public schools, as institutions independent of the private sector, need to know about private-sector pay-for-performance plans not so they can be carbon copied, but so schools can consider whether aspects of the plans can be applied successfully to public schools. The latest AASA survey, designed to gauge member feedback and interest in pay-for-performance programs is appended.
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Association of School Administrators