An Analysis of Perceptions of Teachers and Administrators Toward Various Incentive Programs

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1989

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Abstract

Many individuals and national reports on education support the view that current teacher rewards and benefits are not supportive enough of our efforts to attract and retain high quality teachers in the profession. The purpose of this study was to review the various alternative incentive programs applicable to the teaching profession and, through the use of a survey instrument, gather information regarding the attitudes and perceptions of teachers and administrators in the rural/suburban county being studied. The findings have implications for the design and implementation of an incentive program in many school systems. Specifically, this study sought answers to four questions, based upon the following respondent characteristics: a. teacher or administrator; b. male or female; c. age group; d. elementary, middle or high school assignment; and e. years of teaching experience. The questions were:

  1. Are there statistically significant mean differences in perceptions held on the issue of merit pay based upon the respondent characteristics?
  2. Are there statistically significant mean differences in perceptions held on the issue of career ladders based upon the respondent characteristics?
  3. Are there statistically significant mean differences in perceptions held on the issue of mentor teaching based upon the respondent characteristics?
  4. Are there statistically significant mean differences in perceptions held on the issue of changes in the work environment based upon the respondent characteristics? The perceptions of the teachers and administrators who were the subjects of this study were gathered through the use of a modified 1986 Louis Harris survey, "Restructuring the Profession." The survey instruments were distributed to 1,100 teachers and administrators of a single large suburban/rural school system. The statistical analysis indicated that perceptions of respondents clearly were more favorable toward the incentive area changes in the work environment than they were toward the other three incentives--career ladders, mentor teaching and merit pay. Additionally, although respondent perceptions were highly unfavorable to these three incentives, statistically significant differences in perceptions were found among some respondent group characteristics. In 3 of the 4 incentive areas--career ladders, merit pay and mentor teaching-- administrators had statistically significantly more favorable responses than teachers. The findings also indicate that males had statistically significantly more favorable responses than females in 2 of the 4 incentive areas--career ladders and merit pay. The only incentive area that resulted in highly favorable perceptions from all the respondents was changes in the work environment. From these highly favorable responses, a statistically significant difference was found based on gender. Females' perceptions toward changes in the work environment were significantly higher than those of males.

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