I was watching question time in Federal Parliament the other night having arrived home from a late school council meeting. I know you must be thinking – what question time? There was a question put to one of the ministers about education and the minister were extolling the virtue of having performance pay to pay quality performing teachers.
I cannot sit by and let this pass without encouraging people to watch this presentation which touches on whether performance pay improves people’s output or motivation on complex tasks like teaching.
I think you can predict the answer already – so why haven’t some our political advisers asked our Ministers to become a little more informed on this particularly when this has been tried in a few States in America and seen to fail.
Morrow (1992) studied merit pay plans in several states and districts and found that “there was no evidence in this study to support the position that it was pay-for-performance which improved student achievement” (p.285-286)5. Incentives in themselves did not necessarily improve what teachers knew and could do, or lead them to teach more effectively. More effective teaching was more likely to result from long-term, high quality professional learning promoted by knowledge- and skills-based approaches to performance-based pay.