Date of Award

Fall 11-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Jay Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid

Abstract

In this study, the perceptions of educational leaders of incentive pay programs, including Missouri’s Career Ladder Program were examined. A mixed-methods design provided a process by which student achievement, professional development, and the retention of high quality and effective teachers were viewed through the lens of Marzano’s (2003) Teacher Level Factors that influence student achievement. The population for the study consisted of educational leaders and educators in Missouri. The sample group was comprised of four public school superintendents, four professional development chairs, four leaders in professional education organizations, four Missouri public school board presidents, and approximately 83 Missouri public school teachers. Interviews and survey data were collected and analyzed. Four themes emerged from the study: the effectiveness of Missouri’s Career Ladder Program as related to increasing student achievement, the effectiveness of incentive pay programs as related to increasing student achievement, the components of an effective professional development program, and motivation for teachers. Findings indicated positive perceptions of incentive pay programs, including Missouri’s Career Ladder Program, which were thought to enhance professional development, the retention of high quality and effective teachers, and ultimately increased student achievement. Even though details of incentive pay programs vary greatly, teacher motivation and increased student achievement were consistent findings among participants. The perceptions of educators from this study may serve district and state educational leaders in future decision-making and implementation of incentive pay programs.

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