Attitudes about Merit Pay

Weber. L. (1988). An instrument for assessing attitudes about merit pay. Educational Research Quarterly 12:2–7.


This 16-item instrument addresses two problems associated with merit pay: definitions and criteria. In addition, it provides information about reliability and validity.


The original instrument was administered to 237 teachers and 86 administrators in northern Virginia. Two months later, 193 teachers, 107 administrators, and 135 parents participated in a replication study in Virginia.


In the replication study, the total group alpha for the 16 items was 0.92; 0.93 for the teachers, 0.87 for the administrators, and 0.91 for the parents.


Five aspects of merit pay were identified through a review of the literature. These aspects were examined by 12 public school educators and a 34-item instrument was developed to assess merit pay; its effect on morale and instruction; methods for deciding on merit; and monetary issues (content validity).

Factor Analysis:

Linkage and factor analyses were performed and yielded similar results: one factor emerged that assessed a general attitude toward merit pay.


Carter, E. L. (1983). Merit pay programs for teachers: Perceptions of school board members in Virginia. EdD dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Attitudes about Merit Pay

1. A merit pay program will attract better qualified people to the teaching profession.
2. Merit pay would not enhance the positive relationship among teachers and administrators.
3. A merit pay system will have a negative impact on the morale of teachers in the system.
4. Nominees for a merit pay increase can be objectively identified.
5. Merit pay will positively affect teacher morale.
6. Competition for merit pay will inhibit spontaneity and innovation by teachers within classrooms.
7. A merit pay plan has no place in the public school setting.
8. Teachers working under merit pay will be less cooperative with their peers.
9. A merit pay system should be included in the salary schedule.
10. Students standardized test scores results should be a factor used when evaluating teachers for merit purposes.
11. Standardized test scores in the school system would improve if a merit system of pay were adopted.
12. Accord between administrative and instructional staff will be negatively affected if a merit system is adopted.
13. Merit pay should not be implemented in the public schools.
14. A merit pay program will improve the quality of instruction for gifted students.
15. A merit pay program will result in a higher retention rate of better teachers.
16. Tenured teachers receiving unsatisfactory evaluations should be denied automatic salary increases so that funds will be available for merit pay.


Agree = 1; Tend to Agree = 2; Tend to Disagree = 3; Disagree = 4. Scoring is reversed for negative items (2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 12, and 13). Low mean values (equal to or less than 2.5) represent a favorable attitude.