NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1169815
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0098-9495
The Best Laid Plans: Pay for Performance Incentive Programs for School Leaders
Goff, Peter; Goldring, Ellen; Canney, Melissa
Journal of Education Finance, v42 n2 p127-152 Fall 2016
In an era of heightened accountability and limited fiscal resources, school districts have sought novel ways to increase the effectiveness of their principals in an effort to increase student proficiency. To address these needs, some districts have turned to pay-for-performance programs, aligning leadership goals with financial incentives to motivate and direct leadership efforts. Pay-for-performance strategies have been applied to schools for decades (Barraclough, 1973; Educational Research Service, 1979; Kienapfel, 1984) but have expanded in scope and scale to now operate through public and private channels at the national, state, and district levels. These incentive programs have historically focused on teachers, but in recent years they have expanded to include principals as well. The research presented here examines pay-for-performance plans for school principals, presenting the plans' central features and defining programmatic elements within a framework that focuses on the key decisions that need to be made while designing incentive systems. In so doing, the analysis provides a descriptive overview of how pay-for-performance programs for school principals are conceptualized and developed while illustrating novel approaches, common shortcomings, and creative solutions to challenging dilemmas. The authors base the analyses on the prevailing literature on teacher performance pay and related work from the business and public sectors to develop a framework of essential components that they apply, via document analysis, to 34 funded proposals from the federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF). This framework does not dictate the form of performance pay systems; rather it identifies the requisite considerations with which system designers must grapple as they construct the incentive architecture. The authors use this approach to address the following research questions: (1) What are the defining characteristics of pay-for-performance programs for school leaders, as conceived by practitioners across the country?; and (2) To what extent do practitioner-developed pay-for-performance plans for school leaders align with a robust design framework? The authors decided to analyze the TIF grants because the program was one of the largest and most prominent avenues open to all school districts in the United States to implement incentive pay for principals. Through this analysis they learn about the prevailing pay-for-performance plans for principals and reach conclusions about their strengths, weaknesses, and likelihood for success.
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A