Feedback from faculty involved in the state’s Performance Based Compensation Pilot Program has been mostly positive, reports Deputy Superintendent Martel Menlove. He and Superintendent Larry Shumway have been meeting with faculty from the schools participating in the pilot program. So far, they’ve visited three of the five schools and plan to visit the last two shortly.
“Participants say they’ve found the pilot helpful because they’ve had an opportunity to collaborate and discuss their goals,” Menlove says.
He says developing a school plan has helped faculty members focus on their goals and develop objective, rather than subjective, measurements of their performance. However, they have also reported that more training in how to identify their goals would be beneficial, as would new approaches to using student data, such as benchmarking expectations for students’ yearly gains.
The Performance Based Compensation Pilot Program was created in 2009 by the Utah Legislature (HB328, Sen. Howard Stephenson R-Draper). Five elementary schools were selected to participate in the pilot. Each school created their own unique performance pay plans, but each were required to have these same parameters: Performance would be based 40 percent on student test scores, 40 percent on a supervisor’s evaluation, and 20 percent on parental satisfaction. Teachers participating in the plans received $2,000 the first year (the 2009-10 school year) just for being involved in the program. At the end of this school year, participating teachers will receive differentiated pay based on their performance under their schools’ plans.
The pilot ends this year, since no funds have been allocated to continue it. Unfortunatley, the short duration of this pilot program means no statistically sound measurement can be made of whether performance-based compensation impacted student achievement.
The program was piloted in three traditional schools — Ashman Elementary in the Sevier District, Manila Elementary in Alpine and Midway Elementary in Wasatch School District — and two charter schools, Canyon Rim Academy in Salt Lake City and Wasatch Peak Academy in North Salt Lake City.
The State Office of Education is currently working on a comprehensive Education Effectiveness Project, which includes focused attention on educator evaluation. Measuring effectiveness through robust evluation systems is a key to promoting high quality instruction, one of the basic tenants of the State Board of Education’s vision and mission statement Promises to Keep.