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CEP discussion paper
Pay for Performance Where Output is Hard to Measure: the Case of Performance Pay for School Teachers
Richard Belfield and David Marsden August 2006
Paper No' CEPDP0747:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I2; J33; J45; M52

Tags: education; teachers; performance related pay; public sector; compensation; industrial relations

The introduction of performance-related pay with Performance Management in the state school sector of England and Wales represents a considerable change in the school management system. After 2000, all teachers were subject to annual goal setting performance reviews. Experienced teachers were offered an extended pay scale based on performance instead of seniority, and to gain access to the new upper pay scale, teachers had to go through a ‘threshold assessment’ based on their professional skills and performance. This paper reports the results of a panel survey of classroom and head teachers which started in 2000 just before implementation of the new system, and then after one and after four years of operation. We find that both classroom and head teacher views have changed considerably over time, from initial general skepticism and opposition towards a more positive view, especially among head teachers by 2004. We argue that the adoption of an integrative bargaining approach to performance reviews explains why a growing minority of schools have achieved improved goal setting, and improved pupil attainments as they have implemented performance management. Pay for performance has been one of the measures of organizational support that head teachers could bring to induce changes in teachers’ classroom priorities. We argue that the teachers’ case shows that a wider range of performance incentives than previously thought can be offered to employees in such occupations, provided that goal setting and performance measurement are approached as a form of negotiation instead of top-down.

Forthcoming in Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations 2006, edited by Kaufman B, and Lewin D for the US Labor and Employment Relations Association, published by Elsevier. Final draft: 20.7.06