The overseas experience...

Darrell Latham
Darrell Latham
New Zealand is one of a long list of countries exploring ways to use incentives to encourage teaching performance, writes Darrell Latham, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago College of Education.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently announced $NZ550 million for teacher bonus pay and she hopes to deliver a one-off bonus of up to $NZ10,300 after the next election to reward high-performing teachers. However, it is likely to reward only about one in 10 teachers.

Singapore has one of the most comprehensive performance management systems, providing teacher bonuses of up to 25% of annual salary. The process is extensive: planning meetings are held at the start of the school year; goals are set for pupil achievement, professional development and contributions to both the school and community; rigorous midyear and end-of-year reviews take place. In addition, teachers can earn bonuses for exceptional individual or team contributions.

In Germany some teachers can progress through salary levels faster based on performance; salary movement can also be delayed based on poor performance.

Chile has created rewards for excellence in teaching based on individual teacher evaluations, not on pupil test scores. Teachers retain the salary as long as their evaluations are satisfactory. The problem is the education budget means only a limited quota of teachers are eligible for bonuses.

In the Netherlands, school boards decide the conditions under which bonuses or allowances are granted but, like Chile, opportunities for teachers to progress to higher salary based on performance are limited by a quota system.

Some countries reward entire schools based on exceptional performance.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, school teams have been rewarded for meeting performance targets based on pupil achievement, enrolment, dropout rates, teacher attendance and stability. When schools meet all their targets, teachers can receive up to an additional three months' salary and if they exceed their targets they receive additional incentives.

Dr Latham says the debate in New Zealand is hamstrung by the paucity of detail so far on what Education Minister Hekia Parata intends for her performance pay plan.

 

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