Perceptions Of Strategic Compensation As A Motivating Factor On Teacher Quality, Recruitment And Retention In A Rural Southeast School District

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of teachers and administrators in a rural southeast school district regarding the impact of strategic compensation as a motivating factor on teacher quality, recruitment, and retention. As a result of increased demands on K12 education and the limited pool of teaching candidates, public school districts continue to search for ways to motivate, recruit and retain teachers (Muranto and Shuls, 2012). Since many view the traditional teacher salary scale as an outdated and ineffective practice, school districts continue to search for new ways to provide additional financial bonuses. (Springer, 2009).

At the time of the study, the rural southeast school district studied was the only district within its state that used a strategic compensation model as a part of its employee benefits package. The locally funded plan awarded bonuses to teachers who qualify according to the parameters set by their school board. The initial rationale behind the implementation of the plan was to acknowledge exemplary teachers within the district. In this study, the history of the traditional salary scale, teacher quality, teacher retention, teacher recruitment, proponents and opponents of strategic compensation and recent studies on merit pay were examined.

In this mixed methods study, a survey was sent to all 237 candidates eligible for strategic compensation, and a focus group interview with 7 administrators responsible for the summative evaluations of teachers was conducted. After the data were collected, descriptive statistics were examined to determine if additional ANOVA analyses were required to determine if demographic differences could be identified.

The findings from this study may assist school districts develop and maintain a strategic compensation plan as a part of its overall teacher compensation package. After the data were disaggregated and analyzed, the findings from this study indicated mixed reviews regarding teacher perceptions of strategic compensation. Survey results indicate that the ideal bonus lies between $1,000-$3,000. In addition, teachers and administrators did not perceive that strategic compensation assisted with teacher recruitment or retention. Additional findings indicated differences in perceptions of strategic compensation based on gender and level of teaching assignment.



Strategic Compensation, Merit Pay, Teacher Quality, Teacher Recruitment, Teacher Retention