The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes of superintendents and principals in the state of Florida toward the issue of merit pay. The evaluation instrument used for the collection of data was a questionnaire that was developed and validated by Rometo in 1961. For this study, the instrument consisted of 34 statements and four questions related to merit pay.

During the 1983-84 school year, the instrument was mailed to a total of 1,990 educators in the state of Florida. Included in the sample were all 67 district superintendents and 1,923 selected principals. Usable returns were obtained from 47 superintendents and 1,262 principals.

The responses were tabulated and analyzed by a computer which was programmed to evaluate responses for each of the 34 statements in terms of eight demographic variables. These variables were used as a basis for testing eight hypotheses. The data was analyzed by the use of the chi-square test for significant relationships and the Cochran's Q test for related observations to opinion responses. The following summary includes some of the findings of this research study: An application of the chi-square test produced 36 significant chi-squares for the 34 attitude statements.

Over 58% of the principals and superintendents were of the opinion that with adequate salaries, merit pay would be unnecessary. Almost 85% of the administrators were in agreement with the statement that high salaries for outstanding teacher performance are justifiable. Over 81% of the administrators indicated that merit pay should be subsidized by the state. Administrators were in agreement (66.1%) with the statement that a teacher should be eligible for a merit increment as soon as outstanding teaching has been demonstrated. Over 68% of the administrators were of the opinion that teachers should have the opportunity to assist in planning and administering merit pay in their respective systems.

The overwhelming majority of educators indicated that the principal should participate in the evaluation of teaching performance. The position of supervisor was the second choice and fellow teachers was third. The highest ranking criteria for evaluating teaching performance selected by administrators was quality of instruction and pupil test scores. The lowest ranking criteria was community participation and service. Despite the widespread apprehension surrounding the issue of merit pay, the results of this study suggest that agreement exists among the composite attitudes of principals and superintendents in the state of Florida with regard to premises relative to merit pay, policies concerning merit pay, and possible effects of merit pay.


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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


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238 p.




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