School superintendents’ perceptions of teacher pay for performance programs
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There has been a renewed interest by local, state, and federal entities in teacher pay for performance programs. Billions of federal dollars have been given to states and school districts to develop programs to reward high-quality teachers based on student academic achievement test scores. Despite mixed-outcomes in data in the current literature, districts continue to develop and implement teacher pay for performance plans. School superintendents’ voices have been absent from the current discourse in the pay for performance literature. School superintendents are uniquely situated to provide valuable insight of their perceptions of teacher pay for performance programs they have implemented in their respective districts. This study was approached from a qualitative, phenomenological lens used to describe superintendent perceptions of teacher pay for performance programs. The research conducted attempted to answer the following questions: 1. How do superintendents perceive teacher pay for performance programs in their districts? 2. How have superintendents’ perceptions changed throughout the pay for performance program implementation? 3. How do superintendents determine the success of teacher pay for performance programs in their districts? 4. For superintendents, what is the essence of experiencing a pay for performance program? This study followed a qualitative, phenomenological research to gain an understanding of the perceptions of participants who all experienced the same phenomenon (Creswell, 2013), in this case, leading a school district that has adopted a pay for performance structure designed to recruit and retain teachers. Interviews with superintendents who had participated in the implementation of a district teacher pay for performance program were the primary data sources. Analysis included open coding procedures using qualitative data analysis software. Documents and member checks were used to triangulate data. Findings from this study could be used by school districts that might be contemplating implementing pay for performance programs.