Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Merit pay--Iowa; Teachers--Salaries, etc.--Iowa; Education and state--Iowa;


Phase III of Iowa's Educational Excellence Program has provided Iowa school districts with the unique opportunity to improve and enhance the quality and effectiveness of Iowa teachers through the development of performance-based and supplemental pay plans. With 50 million dollars in state funding Iowa school districts were in a unique position to develop and implement their own prescription for achieving educational excellence.

The purpose of this study was to conduct an analysis of initial performance-based supplemental pay plans developed by Iowa school districts. As a result of the analysis this study described the reform efforts initiated by local school districts as a direct result of Phase III of Iowa's Educational Excellence Program.

This study applied content analysis techniques to analyze a sample of 50 Phase III plans developed by Iowa school districts with similar student enrollments. As a result of the analysis the following information was gathered: The types of activities developed as a result of Iowa's Educational Excellence Program, the purposes for which identified Phase III initiative were established, and the frequency with which specific Phase III initiatives were identified.

The 50 Phase III plans analyzed described 360 Phase III initiatives involving 88 different types of activities. The 360 initiatives identified readily fell into one of four broad groups of activities. Of these four groups of activities (Teacher-Centered, Student-Centered, Curriculum Development, and Performance-Based pay) Teacher-Centered activities accounted for 38% of the initiatives identified.

The primary method of categorizing Phase III initiatives was by identifying the purpose which the initiatives were intended to serve. Of nine categories of purposes developed for this study, Phase III initiatives were most frequently classified as having been initiated for the purpose of "Improving Teaching and Learning." Thirty-six percent of the 360 Phase III initiatives identified were classified in this category. The types of activities most frequently identified within this category depict a variety of efforts directed toward the improvement of teaching and learning.

By examining the most frequently identified types of activities, this study narrowed its focus to further highlight the nature of Phase III efforts. Of 88 different types of activities identified, 10 represent nearly half (48%) of the total number of Phase III initiatives described. "Research and Study Performance-Based Pay" was by far the most frequently identified activity, identified in 76% of the Phase III plans analyzed. Curriculum Development Activities, identified in 48% of the plans, Teacher-Centered/Teacher-Developed Activities and Summer School Programs, both identified in 38% of the plans, were the most frequently identified types of activities.

Based on the limited scope of this study it appears that Iowa schools were cautious in initiating Phase III efforts. The nature of many of the Phase III activities identified suggests that local school districts are using Phase III funds to promulgate the same types of improvement activities that have been available in Iowa for some time. The majority of these efforts focused on teacher skill development and curriculum development. While the study of performance-based pay was the most frequently identified activity, the limited efforts to implement performance-based pay in the plans analyzed raises questions about the real intent to develop performance-based pay program in Iowa schools.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Administration and Counseling

First Advisor

James Albrecht

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 129 pages)



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