Archived InformationCPRE Financial Briefs: Reinventing Teacher Compensation Systems - September 1995
A skills- or competency-based pay system would more directly measure teacher knowledge and skills. Such a system could reward the development of three types of knowledge and skills. The first, and most critical, would be depth in the areas of content, curriculum and instructional expertise. A second set of skills would be "breadth" skills--those vital to important non-teaching functions such as curriculum development, professional development, guidance counseling, and parent outreach. A third set would be "management" skills, particularly for schools engaged in site-based management.
A skills/competency-based pay salary component could be added to the current salary schedule, replace either the education or experience component of the current salary schedule, or replace both components (see Models 1, 2, 3, and 4 for examples of salary schedules incorporating elements of skills-based pay).
For example, salary increases could be tied to professional licensure and certification such as that being developed by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (see INTASC, 1995), the Educational Testing Service's PRAXIS, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Teachers could start their teaching career with a provisional license (a temporary teaching permit) at a beginning salary level, and earn significant bumps in pay when they receive a professional teaching license, and if they become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. A local or national skills-assessment system driven by the teaching profession could identify and assess additional milestones between professional licensure and Board certification. Locally determined salary increases could be linked to these accomplishments.
Skills-based pay should be clearly distinguished from individual performance-based pay systems which traditionally have evaluated teachers against one another for a fixed pool of funds. Individual performance systems usually aim to identify and reward the "best" teachers with additional pay. In contrast, skills-based pay rewards teachers for attaining and being able to use knowledge and competencies valued by the school--such as the ability to teach all students the mathematics promoted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Skill attainment is judged against a predetermined, clear-cut standard. It does not create competition among teachers, but signals the type of skills the school wants its faculty to acquire. Skills-based pay systems, thus, focus individual skill development on the knowledge and skills necessary for the organization to accomplish its goals.
The award is based on gain scores, aggregated to the school level from individual student data. Through complex two-stage regression analysis, the predicted score is purged of the influence of socio-economic variables including race, ethnicity, English proficiency, school mobility, poverty status, and school overcrowding. These achievement gains are supplemented by school-wide measures of student attendance, grade-to-grade promotion, drop-out rates, enrollments in accelerated courses, and SAT and PSAT scores.
Schools' final performance gain scores are then ranked from highest to lowest. Each winning school receives $2,000, its principal and teachers receive a bonus of $1,000, and the nonprofessional staff receive $500 each from a fixed pot of money. Awards are provided to staffs and schools by rank order, until the budgeted amount is expended. In 1994-95, Dallas created a second tier of winners, with bonuses of $450 for the professionals and $225 for the non-professional staff, to provide incentives to the lower ranked but still improving schools.
The idea of committing teachers, schools and school systems to an ongoing training process as well as to meeting high quality standards could have appeal in education. Thus, a percentage of teachers' base pay could be contingent upon each teacher engaging in a specified amount of professional development each year, such as 100 hours. The district or school would have to provide professional development opportunities and the teacher would have a strong incentive to participate. Such training could focus primarily on development of the various competencies in a skills- based pay structure. Careful thought would need to go into the design and implementation of the professional development activities to be sure they are effective and support the student learning goals of the school and district.
The quality concept could be transferred in many ways to education. One way would be to require the faculty to work together to produce a performance report, such as the School Quality Review in New York State. The report would provide a vehicle for faculty to develop reflective practice, and for them to take part in an ongoing process of improving both teaching skills and the educational program.
In short, states or districts could put a portion of teacher pay at-risk, with some percentage contingent upon engaging in ongoing professional development and the remainder contingent on producing a focused, useful, quality performance report which assesses the educational strategies of the school in light of student achievement targets.
|Skills-Based Pay Increments (professionally assessed)||Skills-Based Pay Increments (examples) (locally assessed)|
|Step 1||Passing a Content Test in Area of License||Non-graded Primary School|
|Step 2||Licensure in a Second Area||Cooperative Learning|
|Step 3||Licensure in a Shortage Area||Reading Recovery|
|Step 4||Certification from National Board for Professional Teaching Standards||Computer Skills|
Model 1 maintains the current single-salary schedule structure, with annual increments for years
of experience (steps) and
additional educational units (columns). It adds to this structure salary increments for skills
demonstrated through professional
assessment procedures, and for skills identified and assessed locally by the school or district.
Local districts could determine
the degree to which educational units (columns) would need to be related to areas of licensure
and local educational needs.
Currently, some locals and states make these requirements; others do not. Specific dollar amounts
would be identified for each
cell in this model.
Individual merit pay, the most commonly applied outcome-oriented incentive system in education, creates competitive rather than collegial work environments. In addition, the underlying assumption of individual merit pay is that the individual teacher has control over the achievement of school goals. By contrast, collective incentives, such as group-based performance awards, assume the entire faculty and students must work together to produce student performance and, thus, provide to everyone in a school a salary bonus for achieving collective goals.
Group-based performance incentives could provide bonuses to all school employees or to teams of teachers, and additional funds for the school when, for example, student achievement in core content areas exceeded some predetermined criterion for improvement.
Gainsharing is another type of group-based performance incentive. Gainsharing programs provide incentives for employees to find more efficient means of achieving organizational goals. For example, school faculties that found lower-cost means of providing the same quality services could receive a portion of the cost-savings, with the rest of the funds going toward instructional materials.
Group-based performance awards would need to be carefully designed. They would need to be based on improvements in performance. They also would need to be adjusted for student mobility, be explicit about the achievement targets for students in special education programs, capture student performance across the full range in order not to ignore the bottom half, and include appropriate modifications for socio-economic background, to insure a level playing field participation in the award.
|Annual Performance Reviews||Additional Local Skills/Competencies|
|Performance Review 1||Skill Area A|
|Performance Review 2||Skill Area B||Certification from National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: 5-10 percent salary addition over base salary from both Columns 1 and 2 but only after Performance Review at some step, e.g., Step 4.|
|Performance Review 3||Skill Area C|
|Performance Review 4||Skill Area D|
|Performance Review 5||Skill Area E|
|Performance Review 6||Skill Area F|
|Performance Review 7|
|Performance Review 8|
|Performance Review 9|
|Performance Review 10|
Model 2 modifies the current single-salary schedule by providing annual salary increments (steps)
only for those teachers who have successfully passed a performance review, ideally, conducted
through a professional, peer-review process. Teachers would also receive pay increments for
demonstrating skills and competencies identified by the local school or district as those needed
to achieve student achievement goals. The specified skills could be learned in a variety of ways
(such as through coursework,
staff development, individual research, or professional networking opportunities), and would
replace the educational units in the traditional single-salary schedule. In addition, teachers who
achieved certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards would receive
a 5-10 percent pay increase. Specific dollar amounts would need to be identified for each cell in
|Primary Content Specialty||Second Content Specialty|
|Entry Level with full Teacher License||Extra amount for a full Second License|
|Advanced 1||Advanced 1|
|Advanced 2 (Tenured)||Advanced 2|
|Advanced 3||Model 3 completely replaces the current single-salary schedule with a skills-based compensation schedule. Under this plan, teachers would receive pay increments for demonstrating skills and competencies identified by the teaching profession as reflective of what excellent teachers should know and be able to do at various stages in their careers.|
Only after being certified by th National Board for Professional Teaching Standards would teachers begin to receive annual increments for years of experience beyond Board Certification. This would provide an incentive for outstanding teachers to remain in the teaching profession. Teachers could also receive additional pay for demonstrating skills in a second content area. Specific dollar amounts would need to be identified for each cell in this model.
|National Board Certification|
|Years of Experience after Board Certification|