Date of Award

Fall 12-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Ronald Styron

Committee Member 2

Dr. James T. Johnson

Committee Member 3

Dr. Wanda Maulding

Committee Member 4

Dr. Gaylynn Parker

Abstract

The use of merit pay systems has been a part of educational history for one hundred years. States across the country have utilized different forms o f merit pay systems to increase student achievement. Career ladder merit pay systems may base teacher salary on the attainment of additional degrees, additional responsibilities and an increase in student achievement. School-based performance awards may reward all staff members of a school based on achievement of goals set by the school board. Individual teacher financial awards may be based on administrative evaluations, student achievement, attainment of additional degrees, and participation in professional development sessions. This research project explored different types of merit pay systems in existence, the successes and failures of past merit pay systems, and teachers’ of a southern school district perception of the implementation of a merit pay system. After analyzing 155 completed surveys, it was evident the faculty of this southern school district that participated in the study opposes the implementation of merit pay. Their strongest opposition was evident when asked if student standardized test scores should be included in a teacher’s merit pay portfolio. The results of this survey indicate this faculty may favor awarding teachers a financial award if a teacher chooses to work in a low socioeconomic school, volunteers to teach at-risk students, or teach in a low-performing school. There are several recommendations for future research concerning the implementation of merit pay. This study could be extended to include all faculty members of this southern school district. The study can be further extended outside a single school district by including school districts that are not as affluent as this southern school district, or including school districts that did not meet state accreditation levels. Further extension of this study could explore the topic of National Board for Professional Certification as a possible alternative for merit pay. A demographic question on the survey should be added asking the participants if they are National Board certified. Their data may be categorized separately and compared to non-certified National Board teachers to ascertain differences of teachers’ perception of merit pay based on their National Board certification.