Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Connie Greiner, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Jill Williams, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Deborah Nattress, Ph.D.


Teacher attrition is a costly issue for districts in the United States. Few studies closely examine the link between merit pay, teacher retention, and job satisfaction; however, merit pay is one strategy districts can use to increase teacher job satisfaction and retention. This mixed-method study measured teacher perspectives of merit pay in relation to job satisfaction and retention in order to provide essential feedback to stakeholders for future financial and strategic planning. 353 teachers in a district located in the southwestern United States were targeted for this study. Of those 353 teachers, 235 participants responded to the survey. After analyzing the quantitative data, three participants were selected to complete a series of phenomenological interviews to explore patterns and anomalies from the survey results and to clarify and bring deeper understanding whether merit pay and district improvement to compensation influence teacher job satisfaction and retention. Analysis of the data revealed merit pay is significantly and positively related to job satisfaction, and as merit pay payouts increased, job satisfaction increased. However, the data analysis also indicated merit pay is significantly and negatively related to job retention. Further analysis of the data determined merit pay is not significantly related to teacher retention as defined by total years of teaching experience. However, positive perceptions of merit pay declined as teaching experience increased.

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