Term of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Russell O. Mays

Committee Member 1

Lucinda Chance

Committee Member 2

Phillip Smith

Abstract

The study explored the perceptions of teachers in a rural south Georgia county regarding merit pay based on student achievement. The study examined 205 teachers' personal and professional demographics and perceptions of the use of student achievement in awarding merit pay. The study employed a descriptive, survey approach to address the research questions. A self-designed survey questionnaire was developed to explore teachers' perceptions of merit pay and included a quantitative orientation. Findings indicated that the majority of the teachers who responded to the survey worked at the middle school level, were greater than 50 years old, and had between 0-9 years experience. They typically held a Master's Degree. The majority of the respondents worked at a school that did not make AYP for the 2009-2010 school year. Respondents did not want a merit pay plan implemented in the district even though the district is a Race to the Top Grant Award recipient that mandates a merit pay plan be implemented. The teachers were undecided if student achievement should be used to award a merit pay plan if one were to be implemented. The teachers indicated that a merit plan would negatively impact the school climate, which would destroy collaboration, which in turn could lead to a negative impact on student achievement. Teachers also indicated that teacher evaluations would have administrators playing favorites toward those teachers who "do not rock the boat" or raise questions about certain practices. The teachers were undecided on the number of evaluations that would be adequate to award merit pay. Based on demographics, there were no significant differences in the years of experience, the school level, and AYP status. There were differences with age. The younger the teacher, the more motivated the teacher was to improve student achievement in order to be awarded merit pay. The less education the teacher obtained, the more undecided the teacher was with improving student achievement in order to be awarded merit pay. The teachers, who had attained a Specialist's Degree, were more undecided on using student achievement in order to be awarded merit pay.

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