Paying teachers based on student success - Will Canada be influenced by a US trend?

    VANCOUVER, April 21 /CNW/ - Tying teachers' pay to the academic results
of their students will result in higher standards and outcomes according to US
president Barack Obama in his remarks on Education March 10, 2009. Will this
renewed commitment in the US to performance-based incentives affect schools in
    The Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education investigates
this question in Beyond the Grid: A Canadian look at the terrain of teacher
compensation released in December 2008.
    This research report examines six models of performance-based pay in US
jurisdictions with a view to assessing their design, implementation, and
effects. This is followed by a snapshot of opinions held by Canadian parents,
teachers and principals on the issue. The study explores both the potential
and challenges associated with altering the standard "grid," currently in use
in Canada to a model that would consider factors beyond seniority and
educational attainment when determining a teacher's pay.
    The findings of this investigation do not conclusively link alternative
pay plans with student achievement. Many US programs offering forms of
performance pay are quite new, or have undergone significant changes within
the past few years and the data is limited. As well, many programs have
experienced sizeable implementation challenges. This report shows the
challenges of reforming pay systems and measuring the effects of teaching on
student achievement experienced in six different program models currently in
    Many US teachers' unions have spoken out strongly against performance
pay, yet the issue remains on the forefront of the reform agenda in the US.
The opinions of Canadian teachers align with those of their colleagues to the
south. However, the views held by parents and school principals do not always
correspond with those of teachers on this issue, which points to the
likelihood of ongoing dialogue, questions, and debate in both countries.
    Beyond the Grid: A Canadian look at the terrain of teacher compensation
(Raham, H., Guppy, N., Phillips, S. M. & Bennett, K. 2008) is available
through the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education

    SAEE is a non-profit educational organization and registered Canadian
Charity. The Society encourages excellence in public education through the
provision of research to guide policy and practice.

For further information:

For further information: Elizabeth Bredberg, Research Director SAEE,
(250) 717-1163,

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