Teacher Attitudes Toward Pay for Performance: Evidence from Hillsborough County, Florida

Pay for Performance (PFP) is once again gaining popularity within education. This study examines teacher attitudes toward PFP policies, and how these views vary by teacher experience, subject area specialization, grade level(s) taught, educational background, risk and time preferences, and feelings of efficacy. Data were collected through a voluntary, online survey instrument fielded over a two-week period at the end of the 2006-2007 school year. The sample comprised all full-time instructional personnel in 199 traditional public and magnet schools in a large, urban school district in Florida. Results suggest only modest support for PFP policies among teachers. We detect some association between teacher demographics and views on PFP policies. Moreover, we find that teachers who have a more positive view of their principals’ leadership ability and more confidence in their own teaching ability are more supportive of incentive pay. In addition, teachers who are more risk-seeking and who have higher discount rates express support for incentive pay. Finally, we find that teachers appear to have very little understanding of how the two most recent PFP initiatives in Florida operate.

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