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Teacher Compensation Research and Policy Overview SEDL Policy Forum 2005. Tony Milanowski Consortium for Policy Research in Education Wisconsin Center for Education Research University of Wisconsin-Madison. CPRE Work on Teacher Compensation Innovations.

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teacher compensation research and policy overview sedl policy forum 2005

Teacher Compensation Research and Policy OverviewSEDL Policy Forum 2005

Tony Milanowski

Consortium for Policy Research in Education

Wisconsin Center for Education Research

University of Wisconsin-Madison

cpre work on teacher compensation innovations
CPRE Work on Teacher Compensation Innovations
  • 1991: Odden & Conley, “A New Teacher Compensation System to Promote Productivity”
  • 1995-97: Exploratory design meetings with National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, leading edge states & districts, national teacher organizations
  • 1997: Odden & Kelley, Paying Teachers for What They Know and Can Do (2nd ed. 2002, Corwin Press)
  • 1996-2005: Research on school-based performance awards & knowledge & skill-based pay; National Conference.
  • www.wcer.wisc.edu/cpre
teacher compensation innovations
Teacher Compensation Innovations
  • What are they?
  • Where are they being used?
  • What do we know about how they work?
incentives for teaching in hard to staff or high need schools
Incentives for Teaching in Hard-to-staff or High-Need Schools


California (National Board Certified teachers)

New York



Philadelphia, Baltimore, Hamilton Co, TN

Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, FL

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC

incentives for teaching in hard to staff or high need schools6
Incentives for Teaching in Hard-to-staff or High-Need Schools

Relevant Research

  • Teachers tend to move out of poor, non-white, low achievement schools
  • Bothpay andworking conditions affect teacher job choice
  • Econometric studies suggest relatively large financial incentives would be needed to influence teacher choice
  • No large scale studies of targeted incentives; anecdotal evidence positive from some districts
charlotte mecklenburg s equity plus program
Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Equity Plus Program
  • Signing Bonus ($2,000)
  • Deferred Accountability Bonus ($500-750) (to be replaced with performance pay 2006-07)
  • Master Teacher Incentive ($1,500-2,500)
  • Reduced class size and extra resources
  • Paid/subsidized Master’s degree tuition
  • Pay incentives to help retain quality school leaders
hiring retention incentives for teaching in shortage areas
Hiring/Retention Incentives for Teaching in Shortage Areas

(Math, science, special education)


  • North Carolina (program discontinued)
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg
  • Baltimore
  • Blue Valley, KS
  • ‘Covert’ programs (bring in at higher step)
incentives for teaching in shortage areas
Incentives for Teaching in Shortage Areas

Relevant Research

  • Some evidence that math/science teachers have better- paying alternatives outside education than other teachers
  • Significantly higher base pay (at least 25%) would be needed to attract a significant number of Wisc. math, science, and technology majors to teaching
  • Evaluation of NC program concluded that modest incentives can have a positive effect on recruitment of math & science teachers
knowledge skill based pay i
Knowledge & Skill-based Pay I

Incentives for National Board Certification

  • Most states and many districts provide them
  • Range from assistance with application costs to bonuses, 10-15% pay increases
  • Research suggests:
    • NB assessment does identify teachers with higher levels of student achievement
    • Incentives raise rate of NB participation
    • Mixed evidence on whether NB improves skill
    • NB teachers may not be teaching where most needed
knowledge skill based pay ii
Knowledge & Skill-based Pay II

Incentives for Professional Development Participation

  • Iowa, Minneapolis, Douglas County, CO, Plymouth & Menomonee Falls, WI, Delaware
    • Moderate participation, relatively low cost, and perceived effectiveness in Douglas County
    • Shaky start in Minneapolis due to district leadership changes, implementation problems, and new direction from state level
knowledge skill based pay iii
Knowledge & Skill-Based Pay III

Pay for Demonstrating Competencies in the Classroom

  • Based on a comprehensive model of what teachers should know and be able to do
    • Explicit standards, multiple practice levels, and behavioral ratingscales
    • Multiple classroom observations & multiple lines of evidence
    • Danielson’s Framework for Teaching popular starting point
  • If periodic assessment shows practice is at a higher level, teacher receives a base pay increase or salary add-on, and in some cases the potential for more step increases (otherwise capped)
knowledge skill based pay demonstrating competencies in classroom
Knowledge & Skill-Based Pay Demonstrating Competencies in Classroom


Vaughn Charter School, Kyrene, AZ

Cincinnati,Philadelphia, La Crescent, MN,Steamboat Springs, CO

CPRE Research Findings:

  • Trained evaluators can provide reliable ratings
  • Evaluation ratings from well-designed & run system are correlated with student achievement
  • Evaluation process affects teaching practice
knowledge and skill based pay demonstrating competencies in classroom
Knowledge and Skill-based PayDemonstrating Competencies in Classroom

CPRE Research Findings

  • Requires attention to teacher development
    • Feedback, coaching
    • Aligned professional development
  • Can be costly and time-consuming to administer
  • In typical district, many teachers are likely to be uncomfortable with uncertain pay and higher expectations for teaching practice
school based performance awards
School-based Performance Awards
  • Bonuses provided to all teachers (and others) in a school when that school achieves pre-established performance goals
  • Longest-running ‘new’ compensation innovation
    • North Carolina, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Dallas, Cincinnati, Vaughn Charter, several Arizona districts in response to Prop 301
    • Kentucky, California

Programs help focus attention & emphasize performance goals

  • Low to moderate motivational impact
    • Small bonus amounts
    • Limited attention to ‘enablers’
    • Uncertainty about effort-goal link
    • Uncertainty about funding
  • May increase turnover in schools identified as low-performing
  • Performance pay option least preferred by students preparing to be teachers in Wisc.
  • May be most effective as a symbol rather than a motivator

CPRE Research Findings

incentives for individual teacher performance
Incentives for Individual Teacher Performance
  • “Merit Pay” – variable annual pay increases based on principal’s subjective evaluation of last year’s performance
    • Problems with evaluation, funding
    • Programs died out except in a few wealthy districts
  • Current approach: pay increase or bonus based on achievement of individual teacher’s students, often calculated using ‘value-added’ approach
    • Colonial, PA
    • Charlotte-Mecklenburg
    • Dallas? Houston?

Very limited; mixed evidence from Mexico, Israel and US

  • Only very best and worst teachers can be reliably differentiated due to small samples
  • Not all teachers teach tested subjects
  • Students not assigned to teachers at random
  • Control for student characteristics or not?

Research on Individual Incentives Based on Student Achievement

our take on teacher pay innovations
Our Take on Teacher Pay Innovations
  • Incentives for teaching in high-need schools look promising, especially when coupled with working condition improvements
  • Incentives for shortage areas: common sense to policy makers but a dilemma for teacher organizations
  • Incentives for professional development can be useful as a ‘soft’ way to more strategic use of pay, but danger is loose administration
  • KSBP based on demonstrating competencies in the classroom could work, but needs streamlining and careful implementation
Our Take….
  • Problem may be skill, not will
  • Pay change has often been seen as an end in itself, or as another simple solution
  • Need to use pay change to support other reform strategies that impact instruction; pay by itself is not a strong reform strategy
strategic pay alignment
Strategic Pay Alignment

District Instructional Strategies & Program Initiatives

What Teachers Need to Know & Be Able To Do

Pay for

Skill Behavior Results

Human Resource Management Systems

Staffing, Induction/Mentoring, Professional Development,

Performance Evaluation, Leaders

teacher acceptance is important
Teacher Acceptance Is Important

Why are teachers suspicious of performance pay?

  • Long experience with traditional schedule
    • Simple, predictable, objective
  • Distrust of state/district will and ability to continue to fund innovations
  • Many teachers don’t believe they can reach a higher standard of practice
  • Teacher ‘sunk costs’ after 7-10 years in traditional schedule
Better Research on Pay Innovation Effects is Needed

Why do we know so little about teacher pay innovations?

  • Many don’t get fully implemented, change frequently, or disappear quickly
  • No comparison groups, no randomization; before/after comparisons obscured by other simultaneous reforms
  • Academic incentives vs. policy maker needs