Feasibility study and design of a merit pay plan for principals
Merit pay has been around for almost a century in American education. Most school districts attempting merit pay have discontinued those plans after a few years. The apparent failures might be partially the result of poor design or implementation;The primary purpose of this study was to conduct a feasibility study and to design a model merit pay plan for principals that will be acceptable to principals, upper-level administrators, and school boards. The intent of this plan is to improve principal effectiveness in school leadership while indirectly increasing student performance;Qualitative research and case study methods were used to conduct the study. Following a research of the literature, several interview instruments were used to collect data from principals, supervisors, and a recognized authority on merit pay in education. One school district in this study was in Iowa and was in the process of developing a merit pay plan for administrators. The other school district was in Arizona and had a history of merit pay for principals;The review of literature and results of the interviews were analyzed and used to generate a list of widely accepted criteria for a merit pay plan for principals, and a list of widely accepted objections to a merit pay plan for principals. The generated lists served as bases for the development of a proposed model merit pay plan for principals;A validation questionnaire for the proposed merit pay plan was designed to identify items to be retained, eliminated, revised, or added to the model to make it work. The questionnaire and the proposed model were submitted to a judgment panel of school administrators who had developed and operated a merit pay system in education. Results of the judgment panel questionnaire were compared with the data resulting from the interview instruments given to the administrators in the two school districts and the expert on merit pay. Based on these results, a final model merit pay plan for principals was designed;The final merit pay plan model was evaluated using The Personnel Standards of The Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation. This researcher conducted the comparison and all 21 standards were judged to be "addressed and met.";The study provided a final merit pay model for principals designed to be acceptable to principals, upper-level administrators, and school boards. This model included criteria that had wide acceptance for merit pay for principals while avoiding widely accepted objections to merit pay for principals. Finally, this model was determined to meet The Personnel Standards of The Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation;This study resulted in a viable and practical model for use by school districts considering merit pay for principals or desiring to improve an existing merit pay plan. Concluding from the reaction of the judgment panel, this study appears to have accomplished its objective.