Performance-Based Pay Increases the Quality of Teaching

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Performance-BasedPay Increases the Quality of Teaching

Performance-BasedPay Increases the Quality of Teaching

Thelevel of quality of education that is offered in the contemporaryeducation system has been debated for many years. Many strategieshave been proposed to address the issue, but non-of them have yieldedsubstantial results. The decline in the quality of education isassociated with several factors, including the lack of sufficientmotivation of teachers and the challenge of distinguishing performingand non-performing teachers (Joo, Lee &amp Jung, 2010). To this end,this paper supports the use of the performance-based payment systemas an effective strategy for enhancing the quality of education.

Someregions suffer from the lack of qualified teachers because the mostexperienced and the highly trained teachers prefer teaching in thebest performing schools that are mostly located in the urban areas.This scenario is reversed when a pay-for-performance system is usedto compensate teachers. This is because teachers prefer moving toschools that have been underperforming in order to take advantage ofsubstantial improvements in students’ performance to increase theirearnings (Lavy, 2007). Under the traditional compensation systems,underperformance is seen as a weakness, as a room for improvementwhen a pay-for-performance system is introduced. This implies thatcompensating teachers on the basis of their performance is aneffective strategy that can be used to bring equality in theeducation sector, especially in terms of the level of quality ofteaching.

Theadoption of the pay-for-performance system in the education sectorensures that teachers are motivated to teach by their unrealizedteaching capacity, instead of being pushed around by the schooladministrators. The performance-based pay system is founded on thenotion that teachers will apply all the possible efforts to achieve acertain goals that are pre-determined at the beginning of theacademic year or the semester when financial reward is attached tothe achievement of that target (Podgursky &amp Springer, 2011). Thiscontributes towards the improvement in the quality of education intwo ways. First, teachers are pressured by their desire to earn moremoney, which can only be achieved by ensuring that they deliverquality education to their students. Secondly, the fact that teachersare motivated by their desire to earn more leaves the schooladministrators with more time to focus on other factors (such aspolicy and rules) that contribute towards the delivery of qualityeducation.

Theperformance-based is an effective approach for distinguishing betweenperforming and the non-performing employees. With traditionalcompensation system, the stakeholders find it challenging toterminate non-performing teachers because of the issues of laborrelations and the rights of employees. However, the performance-basedsystem force non-performing teachers to quite the education sectorwhen they realize that their performance track record cannot earnthem enough to make a living (Joo, Lee &amp Jung, 2010). Thisreduces the chances of litigations that are associated with thetermination of employees. On the contrary, the best performingteachers find the performance-based pay as an opportunity to earn totheir best level. Traditional compensation system (such as the fixedpay per month) fails to recognize the extra efforts applied by theteacher. The introduction of a new system that reward the teachersfor the efforts they apply in enlightening their students motivateperforming teachers, which in turn increases the chances of theschools retaining experienced and highly educated teachers. The twoevents, leaving of the non-performing teachers and retention of themost experienced teachers, make a significant contribution towardsthe improvement in the quality of education.

Althoughthe pay-for-performance system is associated with a significantincrease in the quality of education, its opponents hold that it hassome limitations. For example, people who oppose the adoption of thepay-for-performance system in the education sector state thatfairness in compensation can be jeopardized, especially when theperformance measurement criterion is subjective (Podgursky &ampSpringer, 2011). Other opponents hold that the pay-for-performancereduces teamwork in the education sector. The analysis and discussionabove indicates that the two challenges associated with thepay-for-performance are artificial and can be addressed to make thenew system work. For example, the challenge of the subjectiveperformance evaluation can be resolved by developing an objectiveplan for evaluating the performance of all teachers. In addition, theeducational sector has roles that can be performed individually andin teams.


Thequality of education being offered at all levels of schooling hasbeen questioned for many years, but the implementation of theperformance-based pay for all teachers can enhance the quality levelssignificantly. Traditional systems used to compensate teachers havemade it difficult to eliminate non-performing teachers and motivateperforming teachers because they are paid on the basis on the numberof hours they spend in school and promoted on the basis of the numberof years they have been teaching of the number of academiccertificates they have. However, the performance pay system willensure that any efforts that teachers make to deliver qualityeducation are compensated while forcing the non-performing teachersto look for alternative jobs to earn a living, thus improving thequality of education.


Joo,H., Lee, S. &amp Jung, S. (2010). Performance-based reward forteachers: Teachers’ perceptions of their motivation. Researchin Higher Education Journal,1, 1-9.

Lavy,V. (2007). Using performance-based pay to improve the quality ofteachers. Spring,17 (1), 87-109.

Podgursky,M. &amp Springer, M. (2011). Teacher compensation systems in theUnited States K-12 public school system. NationalTax Journal,64 (1), 165-192.