Thesis Bernice van Staalduine

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Contextualizing Teacher Competences Master Thesis Bernice van Staalduine Studentnumber: 1814397 August 2012 VU Amsterdam International Business Administration Human Resource Management Supervisor: W. Wijga MBA Contact Interstudie-NDO: Drs. L. Beers


Writing this thesis has been a difficult process for me. Most students I have spoken about their theses, referred to the difficulties they had: finding research topics, companies that would open their doors for you or people to fill in the questionnaires. I expected problems in that part of the process as well. That is why I was relieved to find myself, after one month already, sitting with a company that was willing to cooperate and also in contact with a group of people I could actually interview. I also knew what the topic of my research would be. Nothing could go wrong now; could it? Yes it could, as I met myself in this process. Starting to work on a project that feels so big and frightening as this thesis made it difficult for me to find the discipline to start producing pages. Reading the books and articles was not the problem, as the actual concept I had been looking at really got me enthusiastic, and made me wonder about all the different possible outcomes of the research. It was the actual writing that was the real obstacle. Finally, a discussion with Mr. Wijga during which we considered my issues and came to some answers, was the push that I needed. I asked for help, and this made me more independent and responsible for my own thesis work.

I am proud of myself; the thesis that lies before you (or that you view on your computer), proves that I am able to convince myself of my own competences, to cross my boundaries and to graduate from the IBA master program.

I realize, this might sound like I never got any real help, which is not true. My supervisor, Mr. Wijga, has been great at structuring the ideas in my head and installing clarity in my own writing. Having clear for yourself what you are going to write about is great; knowing that before you actually start writing, is even better. I also want to thank Lida Beers from Interstudie-NDO, who offered me the case and brainstormed with me about potential research questions. Also, I want to thank my father for his support, my boyfriend for his patience and my friends for listening to me, talking endlessly about my thesis.

Bernice van Staalduine, 2012


Management Summary

In March 2012, a consulting company in the education sector wanted to know more about the effectiveness of an assessment procedure that they had executed in 2011, at a secondary school in the Netherlands. The purpose of the assessment was to measure readiness of teachers for a promotion to the LC salary scale. As developing an assessment procedure for teachers, especially with the purpose of formulating an advise for promotion, is relatively new, the procedure was developed based on experience in the education sector and information about the Wet Functiemix, Wet BIO, and information from the secondary school. By using the available information on the Wet BIO and the Wet Functiemix, in combination with several theories and interviews with teachers that took part in the assessment procedure, the research question has been answered. The research question is: Can the seven competences of the Wet BIO be used to measure readiness of a teacher for a promotion to the LC salary scale?

The conclusion of this study is that they cannot be used, not without investigating the job description of the LC function, which probably differs per school. The Dutch government has, to promote decentralization in the education sector, left it to the schools to interpret and fill in its job descriptions on its own. The seven Wet BIO competences together define the skills, knowledge and attitude a teacher must possess. In the case of the secondary school included in this study, the LC function is interpreted in such a way that extra tasks are added, and that keeping track of the bigger picture and educational developments are expected, apart from one’s own subject of teaching. Then the Wet BIO competences simply do not suffice. It would even be the question if measuring basic teacher competences would not be a waste of time, as they are assumed to be a necessity for all capable teachers. An assessment procedure should be developed to fit the requirements that are set by the school, assuming that a school is able to formulate the interpretation of the LC function.

If schools are able to clearly formulate job descriptions for the different salary scales, the goal of the Functiemix, to increase attractiveness of the teacher profession by allowing for a career as a teacher, would be further stimulated. The government has set salary levels and percentual goals, but hasn’t prescribed what teachers need to be capable of to get to a higher salary scale. Attractiveness of a profession is not only defined by salary, but also by its tasks, responsibilities, autonomy and opportunities; the job description.


Table of Contents 1. Introduction ...................................................................................................... 6 1.1 Chapter outline........................................................................................................................................... 6 1.2 Introduction to the research topic ..................................................................................................... 6 1.3 Objective of the research........................................................................................................................ 7 1.4 Research questions................................................................................................................................... 8 1.5 Research strategy ...................................................................................................................................... 9 1.6 Research approach ................................................................................................................................... 9 1.7 Relevance of this research ..................................................................................................................... 9

2. Dutch Education Developments....................................................................... 11 2.1 Chapter outline........................................................................................................................................ 11 2.2 Wet Bio; 7 competences that determine basic teacher quality ........................................... 11 2.2.1 The 7 Competences of the Wet BIO.................................................................................................12 2.2.2 Effects are positive, re-adjusting of the competences is necessary ..................................13 2.2.3 Adjusted set of competences; pedagogic, didactic, subject specific .................................14 2.3 Wet Functiemix; allocation of teachers in salary scales ......................................................... 15 2.3.1 The law has to make the profession attractive .........................................................................15 2.3.2 The law sets goals for the schools ...................................................................................................15

3. Theoretical Framework ................................................................................... 17 3.1 Chapter outline........................................................................................................................................ 17 3.2 The Dutch education system ............................................................................................................. 17 3.3 Teacher quality affects student achievement ............................................................................. 18 3.4 Job Analysis............................................................................................................................................... 19 3.5 Job Design .................................................................................................................................................. 20 3.6 Job Appraisal ............................................................................................................................................ 21 3.7 A competence is a combination of skill, knowledge and attitude that is contextspecific................................................................................................................................................................ 22 3.8 Assessing and Measuring Competences ....................................................................................... 23 3.9 Employee Development....................................................................................................................... 24 3.10 Adjusting the organization to the environment...................................................................... 25 3.11 Salary motivates, but so does a job description ...................................................................... 26

4. Method ........................................................................................................... 28 4.1 Chapter Outline ....................................................................................................................................... 28 4.2 Research approach ................................................................................................................................ 28 4.3 Interview.................................................................................................................................................... 29 4.4 Sample and data collection................................................................................................................. 29 4.5 Data analysis ............................................................................................................................................ 30 4.6 Research quality indicators ............................................................................................................... 31

5. Results ............................................................................................................ 33 5.1 Chapter outline........................................................................................................................................ 33 5.2 The context of the assessment .......................................................................................................... 33 5.3 Job Appraisal system ............................................................................................................................ 34 5.4 A good LB teacher .................................................................................................................................. 35 5.5 A good LC teacher .................................................................................................................................. 38 5.6 Bad Practice .............................................................................................................................................. 41 5.7 Learning and development ................................................................................................................ 41

6. Analysis .......................................................................................................... 43 6.1 Chapter Outline ....................................................................................................................................... 43 6.2 Wet Functiemix had to use the Wet BIO competences, as there was no alternative . 43


6.3 Competences cannot ignore context, the two are connected inseparably ..................... 45 6.4 The difference between LB and LC is not necessarily found in being a better teacher ............................................................................................................................................................................... 47

7. Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 49 7.1 Chapter outline........................................................................................................................................ 49 7.2 There is no magical fit between the Wet BIO competences and all contexts ................ 49 7.3 Limitations and recommendation for future research ........................................................... 51

References .......................................................................................................... 53 Appendix I: Semi Structured Interview ................................................................ 57 Appendix II: The interview transcripts ................................................................. 59 Appendix III: Preparatory case interviews ........................................................... 60


1. Introduction 1.1 Chapter outline This chapter introduces the topic under investigation. Together with the objective of the research, I discuss the research questions, the research approach and the research strategy. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the relevance of this investigation, both for individuals in the professional sector as for academics interested in the topic.

1.2 Introduction to the research topic It is not easy, nowadays, to be a good employee. Organizations require the utmost of their employees, and the dynamic aspects of society seem to increase every day. Politicians, consumers and NGO’s all have needs, wants and requirements that the organization has to adapt to, resulting in a dynamic and flexible organization structure. Inside the organization, all must be arranged to live up to the expectations of the outside world. Once it is clear how those expectations should be met, or in other words: when the desired output is defined, the organization is able to plan the activities to be undertaken. Next, the HRM department must start to think about the human resources that are required to create this output. Job analysis, the process of defining the job content an job requirements (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, Wright, 2008) is of vital importance here. It is a complicated process: as society is subject to constant change, job content and job requirements may mirror the dynamics and complexity of the environment; the context. The goal of job analysis is to define the tasks, responsibilities and authority of jobs, and generate a job description. This is the list of tasks, duties and responsibilities that a job entails (Noe et al., 2008). In the search of the right employee, the HRM department must look for a person with the right capabilities. One way to define these capabilities is by using competences; the capabilities to meet the job requirements. Delamare Le Deist and Winterton (2005) argue that the definition of a competence is not fixed, but differs from one context to another. This makes the concept of competence quite ‘fuzzy’: an important aspect of every competence is that it is context-specific. What is considered a competence in one situation may be worthless in another, where other capabilities and knowledge are valued. Meeting the job requirements does not guarantee performance, as success is dependent on more factors than just the job description. In short, in a dynamic and complex society, context-specific competences cannot be static. However, in order to make use of competences when assessing various functions or jobs, we need them to be well defined to some extent. The question that then remains is: how dynamic must the concept of competences be to be useful in the process of job analysis?


This research focuses on the dynamic aspect of competences in the education sector in the Netherlands. In the last few years, two important laws have had a large influence on the education system: the ‘Wet BIO’ and the ‘Wet Functiemix’. In the past, schools had to cope with changes that were forced onto them by the government. But in recent years, it has been the aim of the government to make schools in the Netherlands more autonomous, operating as if they are companies that have to survive on their own. To ensure that education in the Netherlands meets a certain minimum level, the law BIO was created, which lists the basic competences a teacher should possess. This law was introduced in 2006. Afterwards, in 2008, the law Functiemix was introduced. This law aims to improve attractiveness of teaching by allowing for growth of a teacher within the profession. It provides teachers with careeropportunities that do not directly force him or her into management positions. As the underlying strategy of the government was still geared towards more autonomous schools, they did not prescribe the way in which these career-opportunities should take shape. In this law, the schools are given the freedom to define exactly when someone is ready for the next step in his career. To force the school to make progress, however, the law states exact growth percentages for the different salary scales, which have to be met in 2011 and 2014 by the schools. The bridge between the attractiveness of the teaching profession and dynamic output is formed by the competences. These competences are used to measure and evaluate teachers with respect to their performance, a development that originally comes from the world of profit-organizations, where performance is measured continually. While there are examples of measuring performance in the education sector abroad, in the Dutch education system, it is relatively new. By forcing schools to develop towards a system of performance management, the intention is to create a more attractive profession with measurable standards that convince secondary-school graduates to start teacher training.

1.3 Objective of the research Based on the relevant literature, it can be argued that a set of competences should be dynamic, in order to be relevant to a society that is also dynamic. This study seeks to find out whether the Wet BIO competences can equally be used to measure teacher’s readiness for an LC salary scale. For Dutch teachers, the LC-scale is the first step up on the career ladder. Generally speaking, each secondary-school teacher starts his career in the LB-scale. When promoted, he or she becomes an LC-teacher. There are, however, no generally described requirements for the LC teacher; in different schools, in different contexts, teachers may be promoted to the LC-scale for different reasons.


Measuring teacher performance is a relatively new tool in the Netherlands that is used to establish a clear view of the quality of a teacher. It may help to decide whether someone is or is not ready for a promotion. In this respect, assessments have been developed that evaluate the quality of a teacher by using a certain set of competences, based on the Dutch ‘Wet Bio’. This law is concerned with establishing a minimum level of teaching quality in the Dutch education system. This same set of competences is used by Interstudie-NDO, a Dutch consultancy company in education-management and development, to assess teacher quality in order to advise about promotions to the LC-level. Interstudie-NDO takes interest in gaining more clarity around the effectiveness of their assessments. At the moment, little is known about measuring teacher performance and using the BIO-competences; thus, the objective of this research is to figure out whether this set of competences can actually be used to assess both basic teacher quality and LC promotion readiness. Interstudie-NDO is a development and consultancy company that operates in the education sector in the Netherlands. In 2011, they accepted an assignment of the Jan Arentsz secondary school in Alkmaar to create an application procedure for a group of VMBO teachers that applied for an LC salary scale function at their school. This assignment was new to Interstudie-NDO, and they put a lot of time and effort in developing an appropriate assessment procedure. One problem they encountered was that little information existed on what an LC teacher would have to be able to know and do. As part of the evaluation of the assessment-procedure, Interstudie-NDO would like to know more about the effectiveness of their procedure, so that they may improve it in the future.

1.4 Research questions The main research question is: Can the seven competences of the wet BIO be used to measure readiness of a teacher for a promotion to the LC salary scale? This main research question can be divided into three subquestions that can be answered separately, which together will shed light on the answer to the main research question. RQ1: What do the Wet BIO and the Wet Functiemix entail, and how are they related to each other? RQ2: How does the context influence the competences that are required from capable teachers? RQ3: What is the difference between teachers in salary scales LB and LC and which competences might relate to these different functions?


1.5 Research strategy By selecting the right procedures for the research, a proper fit can be established between the state of research of the phenomenon and the methods used. As the literature on assessments in the education sector with respect to the wet BIO and the Wet Functiemix is relatively nascent, the qualitative approach fits best in this case. It gives the opportunity to explore the situation, and find new information on which a hypothesis can be based, which may be tested in future research. In studying the phenomena, becoming a part of it, influencing the research, is inevitable. By interviewing, posing questions and forcing the interviewees to think about the questions posed, the situation is changed. The interpretivist research philosophy is acknowledging this influence of the researcher on the case that is studied (Saunders et al., 2009).

1.6 Research approach The research process begins by conducting a thorough literature review on competences, assessments, secondary schools and the development towards an increase in educational quality in the Netherlands and the laws that have been developed to support this movement. This will result in a literature review, and will serve as the basis for the research. Secondly, a few discussions with Interstudie-NDO and the manager of the Jan Arentsz School in Alkmaar are necessary to get some more information about this specific case. How were the competences determined, why did they choose for this approach and would they do it the same way the next time? Third, an interview is developed to procure the information necessary for answering the research questions. The structure of this interview uses discussion on ‘critical incidents’ to be able to gather information on success and failure stories and their potential causes. The interviews are coded and analyzed to find an answer to the main research question. The transcripts of the interviews can be found in the appendix.

1.7 Relevance of this research The purpose of this research is to analyze whether the current process of developing, assessing, analyzing and reporting an assessment is effective and whether alterations are necessary. The focus in this investigation lies on the first step of the process, assessment creation. The results of this thesis are to be valuable to different groups of people. First of all, it is likely to provide promising results for researchers in the fields of education development and theory on assessing quality of staff. For at least, its findings are worth being further investigated to learn more about the contextualizing of competences in the education sector. Furthermore, companies or organizations that plan to use assessments in the education sector in the future may benefit from awareness of the validity of assessments methods used. Adapting this set to the various circumstances in which it is applied is expected to add value to the outcome of the assessments. More accurate measurements will, in the end, lead to


higher teacher quality (Akiba, LeTendre & Scribner, 2007). For that reason, both education in general and teachers as a group stand to benefit from this research. In more specific terms, the results of this thesis may be useful to Interstudie-NDO. The results of this study can be used to adapt their strategy in developing assessments for teachers. More focus on the job description and required competences of each individual LC function is assumed to add value in the effectiveness of the assessment procedure. Also, the thesis can support their work process and support their assumptions with regard to developmentassessment procedures.


2. Dutch Education Developments 2.1 Chapter outline This chapter discusses recent developments in the education sector in the Netherlands. Most importantly, two influential laws were recently introduced: the ‘Wet BIO’ in 2006 and the ‘Wet Functiemix’ in 2008. Before proceeding with the theory, these two laws are clarified.

2.2 Wet Bio; 7 competences that determine basic teacher quality The Wet BIO, which was introduced in 2006, entails seven competences that together form the basic requirements of a good teacher. A good teacher is (i) interpersonally competent, (ii) pedagogically competent, (iii) didactically competent, (iv) competent in terms of content, (v) competent in organizing, (vi) competent in working together with colleagues and the school environment and is (vii) competent in reflecting and self-development. There are different requirements for teachers in primary and secondary school, and for first and second degree teachers at secondary school, but in general these seven competences function as the basic skills required of teachers. This set leaves room for additional requirements set by the schools themselves. Specific situations, such as different types of students or teaching methods, might require additional skills that are not listed in the Wet BIO (minocw, 2004). Responsibility for the quality of teachers lies with the schools, together with the educational staff itself. Improving teacher quality is a process that lasts as long as the teacher’s career. Within schools, this set of competences can be used to assess someone’s readiness for a career change (minocw, 2004). The seven competences were developed with the help of teachers that are active in the field of education, as they are expected to know what is essential for the quality of a teacher (SBLO, 2004).

The Wet BIO has been introduced to match the responsibility of the government to guarantee a certain quality of educational staff at the Dutch schools. At the same time, the competences of the Wet BIO fit with the strategy of the Dutch government to deregulate the education sector and increase its autonomy. The seven competences represent the requirements schools must meet if they are to operate more autonomously (LPBO, 2010); they also represent the minimum level of quality expected of teachers both in the present and in the future. The LPBO is a platform that is focused on professions in the educational sector, and has done substantial research on the Wet BIO. This law is closely linked to the curriculum of secondary school teacher training programs. In short, the law intends to increase quality of education by stimulating the quality of teachers, the quality of secondary school teacher training, and the inflow of workers in the sector (onderwijsraad, 2005).


For education to be of a specific quality, certain conditions must be met (SBLO, 2004). High quality education meets the needs of students with regard to safety, appreciation and a challenging learning environment. Furthermore, high quality education is up to date and helps students to learn those things that are socially relevant. Finally, high quality education fits with the identity of the providing school, and with the current state of affairs of education theory and practice (SBLO, 2004). The quality of teachers is closely linked to the quality of education (Akiba, Letendre, Scribner, 2007). So then the question remains: which factors influence the quality of a teacher? That is where the competences come in.

2.2.1 The 7 Competences of the Wet BIO As briefly mentioned in section 2.2, there are seven competences that together form a set of qualities required of a teacher. In this section, we elaborate on those competences and discuss them in greater detail.

Overview of With Competences Students Interpersonally




Course-specific and didactic




With With With OneColleagues Environment self




Figure 1: Competences overview

The clarification of the seven competences of the Wet BIO is derived from the LPBO (2010) and the Staatsblad (2005). The first four competences concern the relation between the teacher and the students, as in figure 1. (i) First, a good teacher is interpersonally competent; he is able to have contact with students in an adequately professional way. The teacher makes contact with the students in a way that makes them feel at ease. Also, he is able to make use of the right communication techniques in accordance with the social environment of the students. (ii) Secondly, a teacher has to be pedagogically competent. The teacher is able to offer a safe work environment with sufficient structure and support for the students, so that they are able to develop themselves socioemotionally and morally. The instructor is aware of various development theories, and knows


what students are going through as far as identity creation and other related processes are concerned. He or she knows about, and understands, the inner struggle of adolescent students. (iii) Thirdly, there is the course-specific and didactic competence. The teacher is able to help the students acquire the cultural baggage they need in modern society. He is also able to monitor the learning process and transfer knowledge to the students in a proper way. He evaluates study progress and has sufficient knowledge about his subject matter. (iv) Next, a good teacher is also expected to be organizationally competent. He is expected to ensure an uncomplicated, orderly atmosphere in the classroom that supports the tasks that have to be performed. He is able to conform to the agreements and procedures of the school, and offers his education according to a schedule known to the students. (v) Being able to work well with fellow colleagues is what the fifth competence is about. It takes into account the ability of a teacher to contribute professionally to a good pedagogic and didactic environment in the school. He shares information with colleagues and contributes constructively during meetings etc. (vi) The sixth competence is concerned with working together with the school’s environment by communicating professionally with parents and others who have a stake in the education of the students. The teacher shares information with parents and knows about the background of his students. (vii) The final competence, the seventh, is focused on the teacher himself and his ability to reflect and develop. Is he able to think professionally about his abilities and can he develop his professional skills and keep them up to date? The teacher makes use of feedback from students and parents, and also from colleagues and managers.

2.2.2 Effects are positive, re-adjusting of the competences is necessary The LPBO (2010) investigated the effects and use of the Wet BIO. In the case studies they carried out, the seven competences were applied in different ways. The schools which were studied used a configured set of competences that fitted with the end goals of each individual school. A positive aspect of the Wet BIO is the fact that competences lead to more awareness for teachers with regard to their functioning and helps in discussing this with their managers. It is difficult to say whether it leads to actual improvements in educational quality, but that might be due to the little time that has passed since the law was introduced in 2006 (LPBO, 2010). A different report written for the government by Ecorys (van der Aa, Lubberman, Van de Vlasakker, Suitvenberg & Kans, 2011) also evaluates the Wet BIO. This evaluation is embedded in the standard procedure that has been agreed upon by the government, and is carried out every 5 years. The aim of this evaluation is to find out whether the set of competences, and the law as a whole, are still up to date. The focus of Van der Aa et al. (2011) is on the effects and purpose of the Wet BIO. Their main critique is that for many


schools, the plans regarding the capability files haven’t achieved the original purpose as set out by the government. Furthermore, developing competences does not appear to be a high priority for a vast number of teachers. An important conclusion is that the research of Ecorys shows that many interviewees miss a hierarchy of the competences. An example is the weight of the course-specific competence (van der Aa et al., 2011, p. 28), which, according to the Wet BIO, is equal to that of the other competences. The government has argued that this equal division is justified in that these competences are the minimum demands placed on teachers. However, many interviewees disagree with the government in this respect. In practice, the law is used in such a way that this is experienced negatively.

2.2.3 Adjusted set of competences; pedagogic, didactic, subject specific Based upon the critique, listed by the two reports discussed in the previous section, the government is currently working on the re-calibration of the Wet BIO. The most distinct change in the new proposal is that the seven competences of 2006 have been classified differently. There is now a professional base, which includes all basic professional skills and capabilities. To list a few: Organizing, planning, communicating, cooperating, reflecting and an aim at development. The second category is focused on the teaching process. Here, the demands of a good teacher are:

being expert on the relevant subject matter, being

pedagogically competent and being didactically capable.

Subject matter knowledge

Pedagogical skills

Didactical skills

Figure 2: Re-calibration Wet BIO, 2012


2.3 Wet Functiemix; allocation of teachers in salary scales In 2008, the Wet Functiemix was introduced. This law deals with the allocation of teachers among different salary scales, starting with LB, followed by LC, while the highest salary scale is LD. The idea is to offer teachers a career path inside the classroom (minocw, 2008), and money has been made available to allow schools to give teachers a promotion. The law prescribes percentages of teachers to be allocated to the different scales in the next few years after its introduction, but does not give a job description or job specializations for teachers in the LC or LD salary scales. Schools are expected to define by themselves what they demand from a teacher in these scales. In this way, the government stimulates autonomy.

2.3.1 The law has to make the profession attractive The teacher profession needs to become more attractive to guarantee sufficient inflow of teachers. Before the introduction of the Wet Functiemix, the only way to gain a promotion was to apply for the job of manager at a school. For teachers without such aspirations, the Wet Functiemix offers the opportunity to grow within the boundaries of the classroom.

2.3.2 The law sets goals for the schools Percentage quotas have been established for the different salary scales. These percentages are allocated to each separate school, which means that the starting point for each school will be different; it depends on their current situation how many extra LC- and LD-teachers they are expected to appoint. For schools in the Randstad (the urban conglomeration in the west of the Netherlands) different percentages were set, and extra money was generated, to take into account the added difficulty these schools face in attracting teachers. The exact percentages can be found in figure 3.

Figure 3: Wet Functiemix growth percentages per salary scale, Minocw (2008)


There are percentages for the two different stages of the law, the first in 2011 and the second in 2014. In 2014, all teachers with a first degree, teaching children in the last years of their secondary school education, should be in the LD salary scale. For a teacher to get promoted to LC or LD, the only requirement stated by the government is that at least 60% of their working hours is spent teaching. All other requirements or demands for LC or LD teachers can be set by










( explicitly states that the functiemix is not intended to create new responsibilities and expertise among teachers; rather, the goal is to reward teachers that are really good at their job, who have the pedagogic and didactic skills, as well as the knowledge of their subject matter to perform well. However, there are some previous descriptions available of differences between LB and LC (and LD) teachers, listed by the FUWA (2002). The main difference between LB and LC in that perspective was that LC teachers structurally share their knowledge and skills with colleagues about pedagogy, didactic skills and complex groups of students. Also, the LC teacher was expected to support less experienced colleagues, aiming for a higher degree of professionalization. Finally, he/she was supposed to signal the need for innovation of the education methods, and develop these accordingly. As the Functiemix-law is introduced quite recently, a thorough evaluation hasn’t taken place yet, but is scheduled for the end of 2012. Nonetheless, there has been a letter of the Dutch ministry of education, written for other governmental institutions, including some evaluation of the Wet Functiemix. In the letter is stated that the percentual goals for 2011 have been reached at almost all secondary schools. Continuation of the Functiemix is expected to lead to positive results for 2014 (Zijlstra, 2012).

The evaluation of the LPBO (2010) lists the use of the Wet BIO in the schools researched. It appears that its set of competences was often used to determine the position of a teacher, but also to carry out the Wet Functiemix. In search of criteria on which to base teacher promotion, the competences of the Wet BIO are often perceived as a right fit. However, some schools do not make use of this as they deem the list less suitable, particularly as it does not offer different levels per competence (LPBO, 2010). Van der Aa et al. (2011) found that some teachers aiming at a promotion that fits within the Wet Functiemix make use of the Wet BIO competences. They document their capabilities and skills and devise plans for future development. It is likely that the schools these teachers work for have created a procedure that requires these preparations before teachers are considered for promotion.


3. Theoretical Framework 3.1 Chapter outline This section reviews the existing literature in order to gain a better understanding on developments in the education sector. A solid theoretical foundation is a necessary basis to answer the main research question, namely: How dynamic should a set of competences be to fit multiple situations in the education system in the Netherlands? In the next sections, the Dutch education system, teacher quality, job analysis, job design, job appraisal, the definition of competence, assessing competences, employee development and contingency theory are discussed in detail.

3.2 The Dutch education system To understand the Dutch education system, the model of different levels and functions within the education sector must be understood. Primary school teaches children from the ages of four to twelve, after which children go to secondary school. The rest of this section concerns secondary schools, the focus of this study. Secondary school in the Netherlands offers different levels of education to students. In Dutch, these levels are called VMBO, HAVO and VWO. VMBO stands for preparatory secondary vocational education. It is the most practical level, involving four years of study followed by a vocational education. Within the VMBO, there are four types of education: theoretical, mixed, framed vocational and basic vocational. The theoretical type includes the least practical learning, and the basic vocational level contains mostly practical learning. The mixed and framed types are in between. The abbreviation HAVO stands for higher general secondary education and prepares students in the space of five years for a higher vocational education. The last level of education offered in secondary schools, VWO, is preparatory scientific education. It prepares students for university, and takes six years of secondary education to complete (Rijksoverheid on Voortgezet onderwijs, n.d.). There is also a distinction between first degree and second degree teachers. First degree teachers have had a university education and are allowed to teach children that are in the second half of HAVO and VWO. Second degree teachers have had a HBO education (higher vocational education or professional education) and are competent to teach students in the first half of HAVO and VWO, and also VMBO students during the whole four years. As one can image, these different types of education level require different competences of their teachers. Sanden, Streumer, Doornekamp and Teurlings (2001) argue that practical and theoretical models should be connected with each other in a meaningful way to suit the VMBO student. For this study we limit ourselves to information about VMBO students. For students it is most instructive to participate in real life situations, guided by individuals


functioning as models. Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) have found that there are two important factors that influence the VMBO student. First, the teacher-student relationship and the interaction in the classroom are related to the success of students. Secondly, both positive and negative stereotypes affect the achievement of students. Oudenhoven (1988) adds to this reasoning, stating that it is an indication that student achievements do not simply depend on the characteristics of the student, but also depend on the attitude of the teacher. The effect of teachers on students is further explained in the following section.

3.3 Teacher quality affects student achievement Research indicates that good teachers make a clear difference in student achievement (e.g., Rowe, 2003; Rockoff, 2004). The problem with this statement is that it is unclear what makes a good teacher (Goldhaber, 2002). ‘Teachers are every school´s most valuable resource’ (Ingvarson & Rowe, 2007, p.2). That is why the need for a clarified relationship between teacher quality and student achievements is essential in improving student results. The focus must lie upon the improvement of teacher quality by working on teaching standards that are related to what a teacher should know and be able to do (Ingvarson & Rowe, 2007). In order to attract and retain teachers that can provide high quality education, it is imperative that policies and processes are employed that raise the value attributed to the profession, for instance involving better salaries and career paths. In Australia, the Council for Educational Research (ACER) has executed a review of research in the area of measuring teacher performance. Their conclusions indicate that the reason for the failed merit pay schemes in the Australian education sector is the lack of credible and valid methods for testing teacher quality (Ingvarson & Rowe, 2007). In the United States, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) works at identifying the most effective teachers among applicants. They do this successfully, and the NBPTS teachers are more effective than non-certified teachers at increasing student achievement, is showed in a study by Goldhaber & Anthony (2004). Research on teacher quality has shown that it is an important factor in student performance. However, there is little clarity about the relationship between teacher credentials such as experience or degree level, or characteristics such as race, age, demographic details, and educational effectiveness (Goldhaber & Anthony, 2004). A distinction between quality teaching and successful teaching is made by Fenstermacher and Richardson (2005). This is an important distinction, as career paths and salaries may be based on either one of these variables. Successful teaching could be determined, for instance, by using student achievements or standardized tests. Quality or good teaching might lead to successful teaching but the evaluation process is different: here, it is about the subject that is


taught, and how it is taught. The definitions by Fenstermacher and Richardson (2005) of quality teaching and successful teaching are as follows: ‘By successful teaching we mean that the learner actually acquires, to some reasonable and acceptable level of proficiency, what the teacher is engaged in teaching’ (p.191). ‘By good teaching we mean that the content taught accords with disciplinary standards of adequacy and completeness, and that the methods employed are age appropriate, morally defensible, and undertaken with the intention of enhancing the learner’s competence with respect to the content studied’ (p.191).

Successful teaching requires more than teacher quality alone; it depends more on the environment in which education takes place. It depends on the learner’s effort and willingness to learn, the social support of teaching and training, and the opportunities for teaching and learning (Fenstermacher & Richardson, 2005). Ingvarson and Rowe (2007) try to find measures of quality that focus on the quality of the opportunities for learning that teachers offer to their students. As interpretations of quality are highly subjective, the aim is to formulate sound principles of instructional practice and what teachers should know and be able to do. There are three essential steps in the development of teacher performance assessment; defining content standards (what is good teaching?), choosing assessment methods (how should we gather evidence?) and defining performance standards (how should one score to achieve quality?) (Ingvarson and Rowe, 2007).

3.4 Job Analysis Jobs are neither static nor stable; instead, they are dynamic and have the tendency to change and evolve over time. People often change aspects of their jobs, either to adapt to a changing environment, or because of personal preference (Lindell, Clause, Brandt & Landis, 1998). An example listed by Caudron (2000), is that of Amazon, where HR director Scott Pitasky argues that a person can be working in the same ‘job’ for several months, but he may be doing completely different work after at the end of that period. That is why in the selection process, focus lies on broad work specifications and less on specific job descriptions. Particular knowledge or skills, such as working with a specific computer system, are subject to change when the environment changes.

Job analysis is the process of getting detailed information about jobs (Noe et al., 2008). If high performance workers are to be attracted, having detailed information about the job is essential to make the right match. Job analysis can be used for work redesign, human resource planning, selection, training, performance appraisal, career planning and job evaluation.


Almost every HR function makes use of job analysis in some way. Job analysis leads to the two most important types of information for organizations: job descriptions and job specifications. Job descriptions are the lists of tasks, duties and responsibilities that a job entails (TDR). These are the observable actions that the worker executes. A job specification includes the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAO’s) that are required of the individual to perform the job (Noe et al., 2008). Here, knowledge is about factual or procedural information that is required to successfully perform a task. A skill is the level of proficiency in performing a certain task, and ability refers to a more general capability that someone may possess. Other characteristics include different sorts of personality traits, such as ambition, an open or closed personality, etcetera (Noe et al., 2008). The process of getting detailed information about jobs can be executed in many different ways. Noe et al. (2008) describe the Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ), the Fleishman Job Analysis System and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). The first, PAQ, is a very broad and well researched instrument that contains 194 items in its standardized job analysis questionnaire. The items represent job characteristics, work conditions and work behaviors that can be used for a broad spectrum of jobs. The 194 items are tested, using a six scale rating, and results are then processed into a report about the job. The Fleishman Job Analysis comprises a focus on a person’s abilities, as those would be the most important attributes that adequately determine the right fit between work and person. A list of 52 cognitive, psychomotoric, physical and sensory abilities is benchmarked along a seven point scale to determine the job description and specification. Finally, the O*NET is a sort of database that describes about 1000 occupations. The descriptions include factors such as abilities, work styles, work activities and work context. This database is used by many large organizations, such as Boeing and the State of Texas (Noe et al., 2008). Berenschot is a Dutch consultancy company that gives advice on job analysis and job design. Their experience in this field of knowledge has brought them a lot of information on different job descriptions and job specifications. They currently use this information as benchmark material for new customers and companies that need help with job analysis and the design of jobs within their company (

3.5 Job Design One of the foundations of job design is that jobs that are stimulating are associated with psychological states of motivation, contributing to positive attitude’s and work behavior outcomes (Morgeson & Campion, 2003). Job design is ‘the process of defining the way work will be performed and the tasks that will be required in a given job’ (Noe et al., 2008, p. 166). Of course, there is also the process of job re-design, where the processes and tasks of an existing job may be changed.


The job characteristics model describes the design of jobs in terms of five different characteristics, based on psychological research (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). (i) Skill variety is concerned with the different skills that a job requires to perform it. (ii) Task identity refers to whether the job entails tasks that are totally completed by one individual: are the tasks someone performs his own responsibility, or are his tasks part of a larger whole. (iii) Task significance is the influence that one’s tasks or job have or has on the lives of other people. (iv) Whether someone is able to make individual decisions in a job is the main indicator of the degree of autonomy that a job entails. (v) Finally, feedback is focused on the amount of response or feedback that a person gets about the effectiveness of his work. These five characteristics influence the critical psychological states of an individual: experienced meaningfulness, responsibility and knowledge of results associated with a job. When the five job characteristics are ‘high’, and so are the critical psychological states, intrinsic work motivation is also high. If the job characteristics are taken into account while designing the job, motivation but also satisfaction will increase.

Spijkerman and Admiraal (2000) discuss matching of applicants with jobs on the basis of job descriptions. Based on this profile, one can start looking for the ideal person for a vacancy, making the job description an essential part of the recruitment process. The ideal job description is short, and includes identifiers, a summary, duties and tasks and other information (Brannick & Levine, 2002).

3.6 Job Appraisal ‘Pay structure is the relative pay of different jobs and how much they are paid’ (Noe et al., 2008, p. 486). Pay levels are related to jobs, as each salary must be acceptable in terms of external, internal and individual equity. Even though all employees are unique, standardizing payment levels can be of great help with regard to the administrative burden, as well as simplifying decision-making. Perceived equity of payment is an important consequence of payment decisions. Trevor & Wazeter (2006) indicate that employees compare their situation with the situation their colleagues are in. Their theory states that a person will look at his perceived outcome and perceived inputs, and then compare this to others. As might be expected, if equity is perceived by the individual, no change in attitude is expected. However, if inequity is perceived, behavior and attitudes towards work might very well change. One might decrease inputs (work less hard), increase other behaviors (stealing) or leave the situation to restore the feeling of equity.


Two types of equity may be distinguished: external and internal equity. External equity compares pay levels with those of other employees with the same job in other companies. Internal equity on the other hand, focuses on the pay level compared to people with different jobs in the same company (Noe et al., 2008). Job-based pay structures are widely used in organizations, but there are some limitations to this system: it encourages bureaucracy, it stimulates hierarchical relationships and the required bureaucracy functions as a barrier to change. In addition, job-based pay does not allow much room for flexibility in skills and behaviors that the dynamic environment requests. Finally, job-based pay stimulates individuals to seek for promotions, and discourages employees from accepting jobs that do not feel like a promotion (Kanter, 1989). One solution to this problem is paying the person for skills, knowledge and competence; this is argued by Ledford (1995). It is no longer the job that decides which pay levels are appropriate, but individual characteristics do so. This system encourages employees to develop new skills and competences, or improve existing ones. It fits well with a dynamic environment, where the demands on employees are rapidly and constantly changing. A drawback of this system is that it might be difficult to make use of every skill effectively. Jobs have to be designed differently to match this pay system. In addition, if employees acquire many skills, they might reach a ceiling at some point, where another pay raise is simply not an option for the organization. The third drawback of skill-based payments is bureaucracy: a system must be in operation to record and process all the skill changes, training must be available and monetary values must be assigned to different skills (Noe et al., 2008, p. 505).

3.7 A competence is a combination of skill, knowledge and attitude that is context-specific Since McClelland proposed the concept of competency based human resources in 1973, many researchers have studied the definition of a competence, and the exact meaning of the term often raises discussion. Luken (2004) found that even within institutions that had to manage performance by using competence theory, there were different definitions of what it actually entailed. The aspects of skill, knowledge and attitude are listed in many definitions of competence (Luken & Schokker, 2002; Merrienboer, Klink & Hendriks, 2002). Delamare le Deist and Winterton (2005) describe the different perspectives in the USA, the UK, France and Germany on the concept of a competence. Their conclusion is that in general, the combination of skills, knowledge and attitude holds for all perspectives, but the decision on what perspective is most appropriate is difficult to make. Merrienboer et al. (2002) also notice the varying perspectives different countries have on ‘competence’. In the UK, a competence is about being able to perform according to a standard. In contrast, in the USA a competence


is concerned with combinations of personal features that lead to excellent performance (Flether, 1997). Subsequently, in Germany, a ‘kompetenz’ refers to the ability to act in labor assignments (Streumer & Bjorkquist, 1998). In the German definition, aspects such as knowledge and skills are included, but so are professional identity and interpretation (Merrienboer et al., 2002). In an attempt to come to one functionally and theoretically accurate definition of competences, Merrienboer et al. (2002) compare the descriptions of eleven different definitions of competence. There are six elements in the concept that return in most of the definitions. Competences are: tied to the context; inseparable clusters of knowledge, skills, attitude, capabilities and insights; variable in time; connected to activities or tasks; dependent on learning and development processes; and stand in a certain relation towards each other (Merrienboer et al., 2002).

3.8 Assessing and Measuring Competences Once standards of performance have been formulated, the ability to measure these standards becomes essential. The ability to measure and assess teacher quality opens up the way for higher wages and a more attractive profession (Invarson & Rowe, 2007). After all, better teachers should be rewarded more highly for their work. When measuring a competence, however, one begins to encounter problems. Competences are per definition difficult to measure accurately and objectively, as they are dependent on their context (Luken, 2004). Luken (2004) gives a few reasons for the difficulty concerning measuring competences. For one, the definition of a competence includes skill, knowledge and attitude, which are all totally different. Integrating the three of them into one competence might not even be accurate, let alone measurable. Secondly, a competence is not stable. It changes over time and has a different effect in different contexts. Next, competence assessments are subjective because the competence-construct is socially constructed, and the influence it has on its environment is also socially constructed by its environment. Fourth, a competence is linked to persons, but also to the environment that it is in. A competence review is given to an individual, and he receives appraisal for his skills, knowledge and attitudes; however, these competences that he may be rewarded for in one context, may not be valuable in the next. The way a competence should be formulated would have to fit multiple contexts, even within one profession (Luken, 2004). The fifth reason that Luken (2004) gives for the difficulty in measuring competences is the education context, where achievements may be interpreted in two ways. The education sector is different from a regular for-profit company, as the ultimate goal is student achievement.


The sixth problem with measuring competences is that a competence speaks of an ability, and not of the actual performance achieved. If someone is perfectly capable of doing his job, but just sits around all day doing nothing, he may still be considered very competent.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has been dealing with measuring teacher quality competences for some years now. It was founded in the USA in 1987 to improve teacher quality by developing standards of quality teaching. A system was put up that gave teachers the opportunity to get themselves certified. This certification process is now highly encouraged by many institutions, and higher salaries and bonuses are based on it (Ingvarson & Rowe, 2007). The certification process of the NBPTS assures that assessors have a thorough knowledge of what is being evaluated; this increases teachers’ confidence in the validity and reliability of the process. The NBPTS tests certain aspects that will not be elaborated on here. Of importance are the methods used to obtain the proper information on the teachers’ qualifications. The procedure requires ten assessment tasks, of which four are portfolio entries and six are assessment centre exercises. Classroom exercises, student work, videotapes of classroom practices and a portfolio with documented contributions to the profession as well as the school and its direct environment are used to assess teacher quality. To ensure reliable results, candidates are trained for a week and subsequently tested before being allowed to become an assessor. Then, in the process of assessing a teacher, assessors never work alone; they discuss scores among each other and never assess multipe tasks for one individual (Ingvarson & Rowe, 2007). Several studies have tested the validity of the assessment procedures of the NBPTS (Bond, Smith, Baker & Hattie, 2000; Vandervoort, Amerin-Beardsley & Berliner, 2004; Cavalluzo, 2004; Goldhaber & Anthony, 2004). All studies found that teachers with an NBPTS certification surpassed regular teachers, especially in terms of student results. Goldhaber and Anthony (2004) found that the NBPTS method was succesful in identifying more effective teachers. However, the actual effect that NBPTS-teachers have on students differs greatly according to grade level and student type (Goldhaber & Anthony, 2004).

3.9 Employee Development The defintion of development with regard to employees is ‘the acquisition of knowledge, skills and behaviors that improve an employee’s ability to meet changes in job requirements and in client and customer demands’ (Noe et al., 2009, p 400). A different notion of development and the necessary stimulating factors, is written down by Maurer, Wrenn, Pierce, Tross, and Collins (2003). They find that beliefs on the improvability of career relevant skills affect the actual development of competences and skills.


The Iceberg model of competencies by Spencer and Spencer (1993) states that there are five different types of competences. These are motives, traits, self-concept characteristics, knowledge and skills. This models says that motives and traits are the most difficult to change, whereas knowledge and skills would we the easiest to develop or change. The changeability of self-concept characteristics is between these two extremes. Development can fill the gaps between employee performance and desired output. When there are no gaps, development can be used to increase the competitiveness of the company and to support the career of the employee. A career is the sequence of positions held within an occupation (Noe et al., 2009). A protean career, the modern career type, is a career that is based on self-direction with the goal of psychological succes in one’s work. It is the employee’s responsibility to contribute to his career and pursue his own development (Noe et al., 2009). Modern organizations frequently make use of a development planning system, in which employees formulate their plans for the next three years. This plan is part of the pursuit of their own desired career paths. A development planning system is an example of a career management system. This aims to ‘retain and motivate employees by identifying and meeting their deveopment needs’ (Noe et al., 2009, p. 403).

3.10 Adjusting the organization to the environment A system may be diagnosed on several levels (Cummings & Worley, 2009); one of which is the organizational level. As shown below in figure 4, the inputs on the organizational level include the general environment and the industry structure.

Figure 4. Model for diagnosing organisational systems (Cummings & Worley, 2009).


The horizontal relationships do not require much explanation, though the vertical relationships are essential to this model. Each organization level affects the other horizontal levels in the model. The external environment is the key input for the organizational level, leading to the right organization design. On the middle level, the group level, the organization design is the key input, leading to the outputs that then are imported input factors for the individual level. The organization is organized and structured in such a way that it fits with the external environment. The general environment (Cummings & Worley, 2009) includes all the external forces that potentially influence the organization. These are social, technological, economic, ecological and political forces. Daft (1992), describes contingency as ‘it depends’. One thing depends on other things, and in order for an organization to be effective, there must be a proper fit between the structure of the company and its external environment. If an organization for example uses experimental high tech technology, its structure would require flexibility and room for innovation. A bureaucratic organization with hierarchical structures would not be appropriate in this case. The external environment can be categorized with the help of two dimensions (Daft, 1992). The simple/complex dimension is concerned with environmental complexity. It refers to the number and (dis)similarity of external factors that are relevant to the operations of an organization. More factors indicate a more complex environment. The other dimension as listed by Daft is the stable/unstable dimension. It measures whether the factors in the environment are more dynamic or stable. If a domain remains the same in a period of months or years, it is stable, whereas unstable conditions that shift the external factors, make the environment unstable. Daft (1992) argues that for most companies the environment has become less stable over time.

3.11 Salary motivates, but so does a job description Teaching quality is important to student achievements, something that must be emphasized to attract and retain high quality graduates and teachers. More attention for the concept of teacher quality is needed to get recognition for the teaching profession (DEST, 2003). Ingvarson and Rowe (2007) state that better salaries and career paths are necessary to attract and retain high quality teachers, which makes measuring teacher quality indispensable. Theory on motivation from the field of organizational behavior contains useful information on the reasons that lie behind an individual’s decisions. The Hierarchy of Needs, by Maslow (1943), gives a nice overview of the different levels of motivation that drive individuals. The level of motivation that is linked with professional life, is esteem. This level includes intrinsic factors such as self-respect, autonomy and achievement, and extrinsic factors such as status, recognition and attention (Robbins & Judge, 2007). When DEST (2003) speaks of the


need to emphasize the importance of the teacher profession, he speaks of raising the level of extrinsic esteem factors.

Deci & Ryan (2000) have described the definitions of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is: performing an activity to achieve a certain goal, where the acitivty is seen as a means, an instrument to reach the objective. Objectives might be a promotion or salary increase or respect from a peer group. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is performing an activity for the fun or challenge of doing it, while rewards or external pressure are of no influence. The activity is then not perceived as an instrument to reach a goal, but it is the goal in itself.


4. Method 4.1 Chapter Outline In this chapter, the research process that was adapted in this thesis is further explained. The research questions will be answered by interviewing teachers about their career development using the critical incident technique. This method will be explained in the following sections. We first pay attention to the research approach, and follow with a discussion of the interviews, sampling and data collection. The last paragraphs go into detail on the data analysis and research quality indicators.

4.2 Research approach Prior to commencing the formal study, informal interviews were taken in order to get an impression of the case to be examined. In addition, a thorough literature review was conducted, including scientific articles, books, and reports published by the Dutch government. All this information together served as the foundation for the formal research questions. Competence assessment is a relatively new research topic in the Dutch education sector, driven by the shift towards more autonomously operating schools. There is much information on competences, teacher quality and job analysis, but the existing literature on this specific topic is definitely not mature, suggesting an explorative, qualitative study as the best fitting method (Saunders et al., 2009). The research approach chosen is the inductive one, as this area of theory is still so nascent that there are no sound, well-balanced theories to use as a starting point. Research on competence profiles often uses the critical incident technique (CIT). Flanagan (1954) was the first to introduce this qualitative technique; he defined it as ‘a way of identifying the significant factors that contributed to either the success or failure of a particular human event’. The validity and reliability of the method were established by Andersson and Nilsson (1964), in their research on CIT. In the early years, research with CIT focused on managerial and employee performance and the often less tangible factors that influence this performance (McClelland, 1973). In 1998, McClelland published an article on the Behavioral Event Interview (BEI). This interview-method was adapted from the CIT method; it is designed to analyze the differences between two different jobs; the outstanding ones (T), and the ‘normal’ or typical cases (O). This method asks employees in the O and Tgroups to describe both the positive and the negative aspects of their work experience. Once this information has been gathered, the interviews have to be transcribed and then coded for various characteristics. Competences can be analyzed and a distinction can be made between O and T groups if competences are found to be different for both groups. The results


contribute to the competence profiles of the functions. For this investigation, teachers in an LB scale may be designated as group O and the LC-scale teachers as group T. There is a set of questions developed for the BEI method that can be used by researchers for other studies. The method used for this thesis is comparable to the BEI method. It compares the two different functions, O and T, by letting the interviewees describe their experiences in both functions. The difference between the BEI method and the research method used for the interviews in this study is that the standardized questions of BEI have not been used as they did not apply fully to this study.

4.3 Interview For this study, semi-structured, non-standardized interviews have been developed. The questions have been based on the theory and on the informal interviews, which preceded the actual interviews. Summaries of the informal interviews can be found in appendix II. The interviews were executed in a face-to-face setting (Saunders et al., 2009) and roughly followed the structure of the interview guide, which can be found in appendix I. The aim of the interview is to obtain detailed information about the differences in demands and requirements of the LB and LC salary scale at the Jan Arentsz secondary school in Alkmaar. First, questions are asked about the differences between LB and LC teachers, and consequently the teachers are interviewed about existing good and bad examples of LB and LC teachers.

4.4 Sample and data collection The sample that was used consists of teachers working at the Jan Arentsz College in Alkmaar, in the VMBO team. The sample consists of 6 teachers, who all took part in an application procedure last year for a number of LC positions that was available. These teachers are expected to have knowledge concerning the different demands of the LB and LC functions. A potential threat to objectiveness of the teachers might be that some of them were promoted, and others weren’t. Of the six teachers, 3 received a promotion to LC last year, and the other three did not. The Jan Arentsz secondary school is a school in Alkmaar that offers the education types VMBO, HAVO and VWO to students from 12 to 18 years of age. The significant department for this research is the VMBO department, which is run by director Jan Willem Heemstra, who has also hired Interstudie-NDO last year to develop and execute the application procedure for 5 positions in the LC-salary scale. The size of the sample is small, though the issue in qualitative research is not representativeness, but theoretical diversity. For this reason, the sample size is not an issue. Respondents were selected on the basis of a degree of homogeneity of their working


environment and experience with the differences between LB and LC functions in their school as they applied for LC functions in the past. The procedure included an extensive assessment to determine readiness for this position, commissioned by the school and carried out by Interstudie-NDO. There were multiple reasons for choosing this sample. First of all, the researcher had easy access to this group of teachers, as Interstudie-NDO had contact details available and they were willing to cooperate. Besides the convenience aspect, however, the knowledge of this sample about the LB and LC functions in their VMBO team was expected to be very accurate. The age of the interviewees varied from 28 to 55 years old;, one of the interviewees was male while the other five were female. Of the remaining teachers that could have been interviewed, there was one teacher who did not get a promotion, and two who did get the LC salary scale. Two did not respond, and one teacher refused to cooperate, as he was too busy at that time. All interviews took place within three weeks in June 2012, at the Jan Arentsz College in Alkmaar. The interviews were held in one of three quiet rooms (depending on which was available at the time) on the second floor of the school.

4.5 Data analysis Three types of coding suggested by Strauss and Corbin (1990) were used to analyze the data: open, axial and selective coding. Open coding is the process of breaking down, comparing, conceptualizing and categorizing data. All text fragments that seemed of importance were highlighted, and labeled into categories. In this process, 72 codes were created, that all linked to one or multiple text fragments; representing 342 text fragments in total. The research aimed to find information about differences between LB and LC salary scales and the expectations of teachers who worked in those scales. Furthermore, background questions were asked to get a clear picture of the situation of the group of teachers and the team they were working at. Coding categories reflected essential information, but also information that was not required for this study. With axial coding the codes that were similar to each other were regrouped, and codes that were irrelevant to the phenomenon of interest or were backed up insufficiently by a number of text fragments, were eliminated. As a result, 36 of the original 72 codes remained. These 36 codes were classified into 8 larger categories, of which the first 5 dealt with the difference between LB and LC teachers, followed by examples of good and bad LB and LC teachers from the work floor. The other three categories dealt with: VMBO teaching requirements, job appraisal system and attitude towards assesment and development. The categories, their descriptions and the matching codes are listed below in Table 1. Finally, during the phase of selective coding, the goal was to integrate all categories into one core category, which would then describe the main concept influencing the studied


phenomenon. In this phase, the core category was reached when all different categories and relations between them could be traced back to the main category. Category


Codes in category

Good LB teacher

Thoughts teachers have on LB demands

Basic qualities are assumed Didactical, pedagogical, empathy

Example teacher LB

Examples of excellent LB colleagues

Responsibility, trust, communication Contact with children Structure Developing education

Good LC teacher

Thoughts teachers have on LC demands

Communication Education developments A broader perspective Difference unclear LB/LC LC extra task Wasn’t in the package beforehand Unfair, no facilities It has to be about being a good teacher

Example teacher LC

Examples of excellent LC colleagues

What is everybody doing? A step beyond basic teaching Taking responsibility Laying down policy

Bad teacher

Bad examples of teaching colleagues

View on LC tasks Contact with students Order in classroom Contact with colleagues

VBMO teaching Job Appraisal system

Attitude assessment

Specific VMBO teaching skills Appraisal system at the Jan Arentsz school

Attitude Attitude Pedagogic and didactic Job evaluation structure LC Appraisal conversation, no consequences Appraisal conversation didn’t take place

Opinion on assessment and attitude fairness procedure

Unclear procedure Fun/exciting assessment Recognition of one-self Objective procedure; the assessment Subjective procedure; the conversation Learning environment Personal outcome LC as a reward

Table 1: Axial Coding Categories

4.6 Research quality indicators As explained in the research approach section (4.2), the method of testing the differences between the competence profiles has been proven by McClelland (1998) and other researchers. The BEI method (behavioral event interview) is designed in such a way, that it can be applied to other research cases as well, which increases the validity of the procedure.


The open structure of the interview gave interviewees enough room for requesting additional information if questions seemed unclear, or to put forward information they deemed useful, even if it wasn’t asked for. In some cases, the interviewees made use of this possibility: they asked for clarification of unclear questions,.. The transcripts are added in appendix II. Furthermore, transcript coding indicates that interviewees answered questions in a similar way – although they sometimes gave different answers, this shows that the questions were at least interpreted uniformly across the sample. Interviewees were promised complete anonymity, minimizing participant bias (Saunders et al., 2009). Participant error (Saunders et al., 2009) was minimized as the case discussed occurred one year prior to this investigation. It is also likely that emotions which may have been intense around the time of the application procedure itself were significantly less strong a year after the event. In addition, by making use of a high degree of structure in the interviews, observer error was reduced. Also, as there was only one observer, the possibility of different interviewing styles was eliminated beforehand. Though the risk of interview style remains, there is little that can be done about that. Finally, observer bias, which is a realistic risk, was reduced by using several interview techniques such as summarizing interviewee answers and regularly checking whether the answers given were correctly interpreted, which minimized risks to reliability in this investigation (Saunders et al., 2009).


5. Results 5.1 Chapter outline In the following section, the context around the LB and LC functions will first be discussed. The discussion includes the attitude of teachers towards the assessment and the job appraisal system. The section is followed by an overview of the differences between LB and LC salary scales, which is supported by text fragments from the good LB and LC teacher, the bad teacher and the examples of good LB and LC teachers. The last section explores the VMBO teaching requirements to some extent.

5.2 The context of the assessment The application procedure that took place in 2011 at the Jan Arentsz School for a number of LC salary scale positions was supported by an assessment that was developed by InterstudieNDO. During the assessment, which existed of both tests as well as a conversation with the school-manager and an assessor from Interstudie-NDO, teachers were tested on many different aspects of their profession. The assessment procedure was perceived as fun and exciting by most of the teachers. ‘Yes, I even really liked it.’ ‘Well, I thought it was really exciting. I remember, during the preparations, that you underestimate yourself a lot, thinking that you can’t do it; you don’t have any numeric understanding. Those kinds of things.’ The results of the assessment were confronting to some of the participants, but many did recognize themselves in the partial and final conclusions. It helped them in accepting the final advice about their eligibility for the LC salary scale. ‘It was really…; it was like a mirror to me. I was reading that thing and I thought, wow, that is really me.’ ‘I must admit, I do things and then continue with the next. There is nothing negative I remember about the assessment. I did recognize myself in various aspects. At a certain point there was the subject intelligence, and I know that I am very slow, and it had to be done within the time limit, so I knew that I wouldn’t score very well at that test.’


On the other hand, others did not think the conclusions of the assessment truly represented themselves. Athough this sometimes resulted in negative feelings about the procedure, some teachers perceived the different outcome of the assessment as learning points that they could work on in the future. ‘Yes, and you don’t recognize yourself in certain aspects. I see myself differently than the outside world sees me. Maybe it is a good thing that I get points to work on.’ ‘The outcome, I called about that, because I did not recognize myself very much.’

Opinions were very different on the objectiveness of the assessment procedure and the subjectiveness of the final conversation with the school manager and the assessor. Some would have preferred more objectivity, and others needed the final conversation to gather more information about the procedure, so that they could understand its outcomes a bit more. ‘Yes, I think it is a shame, I would prefer only measurable results, and then the opinion of the manager at the end of the procedure; instead of it all being interwoven.’ ‘Well, I think that during the conversation, yes I don’t like so much, it sounds quite negative, but the assessment on the computer, with certain questions I was thinking, do I need to give a socially accepted answer here? Or do I answer from my own point of view?’ (Discussing the computer assessment) ‘It becomes all very black and white; it is not possible to.. I find that difficult.’ ‘At some questions I thought, you can go either left or right and it will both be OK. But it depends on the situation, the child, the atmosphere and myself. And during the conversation you can explain things and put them into perspective, so that has my preference.’

5.3 Job Appraisal system In the following paragraphs, the appraisal and evaluation system at the Jan Arentsz School is discussed. There is a difference between the LB evaluation structure and the LC evaluation structure, however, and both procedures are not carried out in the best way, according to the interviewees. The conversation cycle for both the LB- and the LC-function consists of three


conversations: a meeting to establish goals, a meeting after some time to discuss the progress of those goals, and an evaluation and appraisal discussion at the end of the cycle. ‘Well, I have had conversations after being appointed for the LC job, but I think it is a shame. Besides the last conversation in Walibi and the first job evaluation conversation, there haven’t been any discussions.’ ‘All three evaluation conversations about the LC job have taken place. The first one was to establish the LC-task, the second was an in between evaluation and the third was the appraisal discussion.’ ‘It hasn’t gone according to the plans. A few years ago, a nice plan of the HRM department was presented, concerning development and assessment conversations. This was due to the Wet BIO.’ A problem with the current job evaluation and appraisal system that is often mentioned by the teachers is the lack of consequences at the final appraisal discussion. This demotivates the actual occurrence of these evaluating conversations. ‘In this school, they have a three-year evaluation cycle, with a starting conversation, a starting point with development factors. Followed by a development discussion and an appraisal discussion. The point is though, that you can have a nice appraisal conversation, but there are no consequences at all, so it doesn’t really make sense. They can’t even fire you as a teacher.’ ‘I have to admit I have never been been judged’ ‘This year I would have my third conversation, which should have taken place with the management, but that has been changed. So now I have a final conversation with my coordinator. And it is not really an appraisal conversation, he called it a development conversation, where we take a look at the current position and future desires.’

5.4 A good LB teacher For each secondary school teacher, it is assumed that basic qualifications and qualities are present. Knowledge, communication, didactic and pedagogic skills are supposed to be guaranteed as all teachers have at least their second degree teacher diploma.


(Things like communication, knowledge, what does that mean to you?) ‘I think that that might be the basics. We all have our second degree diploma, so I assume that that is all right. We have been tested on that somewhere else. And communication is also fine; if that wouldn’t be the case I would have listed it.’ ‘Yes, and the basics, I expect everyone to have that, that makes sense.’

Apart from the basic qualities of teachers that come along with a diploma, there are several qualities, or competences, that are valued highly by the teachers. What comes forward most strongly is the connection teachers should have with children, the empathy, and their didactic and pedagogic skills. ‘Wow, what do I find important in the functioning of a teacher, do you have some time? Well, I think that a teacher should be didactically competent, yes, all those nice words again. Somebody must be able to keep a class in order, which doesn’t mean total quietness and everybody sitting. Order can go together with noise and sounds.’ ‘A good teacher needs to keep the overview of the study program from the first until the fourth year of secondary school. Not just finishing the study book in a year, that is a shame, there is more to it.’ ‘Well, he needs at least empathy with children, and I also think he should be very enthusiastic towards the students. If you show the students you care about them, by talking to them, asking them how they are, if you do that, you are on the right track.’

When discussing the competences of an LB teacher, it is important to realize that the teachers highlight that they specifically refer to the VMBO department while answering the question on good teacher qualities. They have the opinion that teaching VMBO students requires more didactic and pedagogic skills, whereas in a VWO department, transferring knowledge would play a larger role. Attitude plays a big role in a VMBO setting, which can be seen in the text fragments below. ‘Focusing on the student as the central point of focus. Development and reaching that as a group. I do speak for the VMBO student, as I find that quite a difference myself.’ ‘In the VMBO team, teachers are expected to have a slightly more open attitude. That is very important here, and it will get you further. You can know so much about your


course, but if you are standing in front of the classroom with a negative attitude, the students won’t listen to you.’ ‘These students work for the teachers, it might sound odd, but the VWO students are more intrinsically motivated, while the VMBO student often works for his or her teacher, which is extrinsic motivation.’

As mentioned earlier, the VMBO students require other teaching methods and teacher skills than a student in a VWO department would. Attitude is discussed above, but also pedagogic and didactic skills are required. ‘Well, how else are they going to remember?’ ‘To the students, what I find important is the pedagogic qualities. That somebody is didactically well provided. In the VMBO department, I might find knowledge of lesser importance than the way you transfer this knowledge.’

A good LB teacher is expected to cooperate with teacher colleagues in a certain way, and responsibility, trust, communication and keeping appointments are highly valued here by the teachers. ‘Well, of course to a certain extent working professionally, being responsible for the work, for each other. Helping each other and being open to each other. Taking your work seriously.’ ‘Well, we have a lot of freedom as teachers, and what I find very important is that individuals just take their responsibility.’ ‘To me, the most important thing is to be at the same level as your colleagues are. And to communicate very well during this process. ‘

Apart from LB requirements they could come up with, the interviewees also listed some examples of colleagues who are doing a really good job at their school, in the VMBO team. Contact with children is, again, an important factor. ‘She can deal so well with the children, I really admire that.’


‘Yes she possesses a certain peace; she can deal very well with that type of students. She is very creative too, so she comes up with certain assignments. The children are doing great with her, and I admire that’. ‘You know what, in this VMBO team, the people really have a heart for the children; there is a group of people that the students can go to in the middle of the night.’ ‘She is really committed to those children, she works really well. If I have a problem with her class, she will email me back directly and call the parents too.’

The good practice teachers that are mentioned by the interviewees score well on other aspects too, on top of their pedagogic skills . They are able to structure their lessons really well, and are busy developing new education programs and improving existing ones. It is important to note that the quotations refer to good LB teachers. ‘They teach and are very structured in their communication with students. They have a lot of quietness and also a lot of new ideas.’ ‘Her way of teaching, that is a clear example of somebody who incorporates language policy issues and changes and makes the lesson reach the students. She knows how to reach the students.’ ‘He thinks ten steps ahead, sometimes too far ahead, but there are so many new ideas that he has, he can develop a new plan for the school each year. He is refreshing.’

5.5 A good LC teacher Once the interviewees have given their opinions about the skills, knowledge and attitudes that LB teachers should possess, it is interesting to find out what they think of the LC-teacher requirements. Keeping track of education developments, guiding colleagues and a broader perspective are aspects that are mentioned by the interviewees. ‘He (the LC teacher) is more developed in these things. Is constantly busy with education developments. I find that important, to be the leader in these things.’ ‘So we are almost always speaking of educational developments and renewals, I think that really fits with an LC teacher, yes.


Mostly being there, I think, that you are there so that people can talk to you. That you know slightly more of things, and of course that you are a good teacher. At this school, the LC function is seen as an extra task you execute. But I am against that task.’ ‘Well, it is something in general, but I think that it is important for an LC teacher to guide a group of teachers to execute a plan and to get everybody to join.’ ‘I think that he has a broad view on education factors outside the school. A broader, how do I say that, more wide variety of skills to transfer the knowledge, to deal with the children.’ ‘Yes, broader, above the daily pattern, do you get it? And making connections and doing more with education. Thinking about it and introducing it inside the school.’

To some teachers, the differences between the LB and LC salary scales are not clear. They perceive the Wet Functiemix as a law that has been forced upon them from above, and they are unable to define exactly in what way an LC teacher is expected to be different from an LB teacher. ‘Originally the LB and LC have been created because it has been forced from above that these functions should be introduced.’ ‘I find it difficult to explain what exactly an LC function is. I think it is a type of appreciation for what you are already doing.’ (You don’t expect any difference in the teaching itself?) ‘No I don’t’

At the Jan Arentsz School, the LC function includes an extra task that has to be executed by the teachers. The general opinion about this task is quite negative. It was introduced after the application procedure had started, so the teachers didn’t know about it in advance. The LC teachers do not get compensatory hours to fulfill their task, which differs per project, course and teacher. It is all a matter of budgetary issues, it seems. ‘An LC teacher does extra things’ ‘No, I do not get extra hours for this. Yes, that is very special; the difference between LB and LC is that an LC teacher just does much more.


It wasn’t agreed upon beforehand. During the application procedure to become an LC teacher you mostly would just have to prove that you were ready. The task was added later, on top of your lessons.’ ‘Well it is oblique anyway, that I am performing a task for which I get hours, while a colleague doing the same task, doesn’t get any hours. It has to do with money from the government, but still.’

While discussing the LC task that was added to the LC job description, during the interviews, it appears that the teachers seem to be aware of the original set-up of the Wet Functiemix, which was not intended to add tasks to job descriptions. There is still some unclarity around the LC job demands, but also on the tasks that the current LC teachers are working on. ‘I thought that it was officially about being a really good teacher’ ‘The whole Functiemix that was meant for good teachers; ask the students who are the good teachers, and they will give you an accurate list, really.’ ‘Well, they are working on education development, but I don’t know exactly what everybody is doing. I know that he is doing something with … But it remains a bit unclear to me.’

When the teachers were asked to give some good examples of LC teachers in the VMBO team, they found it difficult to list names and specific qualities, as they did not feel like having a lot of information about the tasks of their colleagues. The aspects that were nonetheless listed, came back repeatedly in most interviews. ‘LC teachers are a step beyond basic teaching.’ ‘That you are able to dream your lessons, and have time to think about new things.’ ‘To me, an LC teacher is a really good teacher, but if he teaches differently from other teachers? I don’t think so. For me, the LC teacher is working on other levels besides his teaching. Educational development or developing plans for the school.’


‘She is very bright and able to switch to different aspects very quickly. I lack that speed, and also her cognitive ability is more developed. She performs well on the level of policies.’

5.6 Bad Practice If there are examples of good teachers, there will also be examples of ‘bad’ teachers, or of teachers functioning less well. The critical aspects that are most often mentioned by the interviewees in this respect are contact with students, order in the classroom, contact with colleagues and attitude. The examples of weak functioning are important as they might support or contradict the text fragments about the good teachers. ‘Yes, in our team, there are those, that function less well. I don’t know if that is about the teaching, or in the way that they deal with the children. Because that is interwoven. You might be able to teach very well, but if you don’t have the connection with the group, they will not learn from you.’ ‘There is no connection with the students whatsoever, no overview, bad lessons, concerning methods and didactics.’ ‘Uhm, here at the VMBO maintaining order in the classroom, we have some that have a problem with doing that. And dealing with the target group. We have a few colleagues that are like that, and they just have a really tough time.’ ‘They don’t comply with the appointments we have agreed on as a team.’ ‘They kick against many things, without trying to work on them in a constructive manner.’ ‘Well, your attitude can also be a quality, and she doesn’t have that. If she enters you can already see it.’ ‘It has to do with a certain attitude, that you have, it must be real, some real empathy with students.’

5.7 Learning and development A teacher that is not performing as well as he could or should, does have opportunities to improve, according to his colleagues. There are always traits, such as personality or natural structure, that are difficult to change, but a teacher with ambition can certainly improve him-


or herself. Openness about these issues is essential in creating a learning environment, according to the teachers. ‘That varies, we sometimes have colleagues that really want to learn, and they will, in the course of the years.’ ‘If you are not open to it, you will not learn it. It isn’t something you can read in books, saying how you should do things. It is a very abstract skill.’ (talking about teaching)

The outcomes of the assessment were perceived differently by the teachers who took part in the LC-procedures. Some felt almost deceived when they received negative feedback, others had their expectations confirmed. ‘Well, a little, still it is a disappointment if you don’t get selected, because usually most things seem to work out. Especially when you see who does get picked.’ ‘I had the feeling that I was entitled to the promotion, because of my qualifications.’ ‘I had the feeling things had already been decided beforehand.’ (before the whole procedure)

Among the teachers, the LC promotion was sometimes regarded as a reward for their efforts, for what they had achieved during the years. This is striking, as the possibility of a promotion to an LC scale was originally meant as a career step which entailed developments in the future, not as a reward for past performance. ‘Well, I thought I had a good chance to be selected. I was qualified and had been here for many years. It might sound bland, but I think you have earned it in a way, that makes you think you want to compete for it.’ ‘For me it is difficult to explain what an LC function is all about. I think of it as a sort of appreciation for what you are already doing, for what you have done in the past.’


6. Analysis 6.1 Chapter Outline The following chapter will combine and discuss the theories described in the theoretical framework chapter with the information gathered in the interviews. Each paragraph answers a separate research question. We focus on the role of the Wet Functiemix and Wet BIO, and on the way they are connected to each other first; subsequently we go into the importance of the context around competences and end with the differences between the LB- and LC-funtions in the context of the VMBO team at the Jan Arentsz School in Alkmaar.

6.2 Wet Functiemix had to use the Wet BIO competences, as there was no alternative The Wet Functiemix was introduced in 2008, as part of a larger project of the Dutch government to make schools more autonomous and independent in decision-making. The aim of this law was to increase the attractiveness of the teacher profession by allowing for career development and multiple salary scales. The theory on the effect of job appraisal states that perceived equity of payment is a vital element in payment decisions, as employees compare their situation with the situation of their colleagues (Trevor & Wazeter, 2006). There are two different types of equity: internal and external. The internal equity, comparing one’s pay level to that of others with a different job at the same organization, applies best to the case of the functiemix. The law prescribed goals for each school for 2011 and 2014 in percentages, but did not list the requirements a teacher had to live up to to get a promotion to the so-called LC salary scale. Schools were given the power to decide for themselves either to promote or not promote a teacher, based on their own application procedures. This law hasn’t been easy on school managers, as they have to comply with the end goals which are set, but don’t get information on how to achieve that. There is no job description or job specification available for the LC salary scale, as the law only focuses on the job appraisal aspects. It can be argued that the Wet Functiemix is deviating from the job-based pay levels, as has been argued earlier by Ledford (1995). Such a pay-system focuses on skills, competences and knowledge of the individual, rather than looking at his job. It motivates people to develop themselves and adapt to the environment when it changes, and requires different things from the organizations that make part of it.

The logical first step in developling a new salary scale, a new type of job, would be to investigate the need for this new scale. A job analysis desirably would result in the need for a new type of job(Noe et al., 2009), which would then be designed. In the case of the LC function, the question remains whether a job analysis would have lead to a need for a new


job. However, as the Functiemix is already in place, schools will need to create jobs, and provide job descriptions accordingly. The final job design then has to be connected with the job appraisal system, and an appropriate salary would be assigned to the job description. With the Wet Functiemix, the government has skipped a few steps, and started with the salary scale. Job analysis or design were not really their major interests, their primary concern was to make the teacher profession more attractive. Theory on job design, disucces the O*net, which is a database of job descriptions that can be used to create job descriptions for new job (Noe et al, 2009). For the education sector, the FUWA (2002) has created a similar list of job descriptions for the LB, LC and LD functions. It described the general expectations that school management might have from teachers, which could be completed with school and context specific requirements. Motivation theory speaks of internal and external factors of the motivational factor ‘esteem’. External aspects such as status, recognition and attention (Robbins & Judge, 2007) are directly linked to the creation of salary scales and promotion opportunities. Recognition for one’s efforts can be awarded by means of a promotion to a higher scale, which also brings along a certain status and attention. On the other hand, there is the job characteristics model of Hackman and Oldman (1980) that described five characteristics of a job that have an influence on one’s motivation to perform the job. These factors should be taken into account when designing the LC function, as teachers will have certain expectations and desires for development of their careers when applying for the LC salary scale.

In 2006, prior to the Wet Functiemix, the Wet BIO was introduced in the Netherlands, listing seven competences that together form the basic quality requirements for a teacher. Measuring teacher quality has been proven to stimulate the increase of student results, though finding out what it actually is that makes a good teacher and how to measure this, remains difficult (Goldhaber, 2002; Ingvarsson & Rowe, 2007). This Law is an attempt of the government to set some minimal quality standards to the education sector, whilst allowing for more autonomy of the schools. In the United States, the NBPTS, the national board for professional teaching standards, operates to achieve a similar goal, that of increasing teacher quality; which they pursue by certifying good teachers. The government, faced with several research reports criticizing various aspects of the law, is currently recalibrating the Wet BIO. The new propositions are built on three main competences: didactic, pedagogic and subject-knowledge. Other competences that were listed in 2006, such as the organizational angle, feedback, innovation and contact with colleagues are still important in this new proposition, but they have been moved to the background.


The LPBO (2010) and Van der Aa et al. (2011) both found that schools and teachers sometimes use the competences of the Wet BIO to comply with the Wet Functiemix. The seven competences are used to measure teachers’ readiness for an LC salary scale, as there is little other material available to base these promotion decisions on. Alternative sets of competences or requirements that can be applied to the school situation have not been developed yet. Both staff members of Interstudie-NDO and the VMBO manager of the Jan Arentsz School admitted during informal discussions that the use of the Wet BIO competences was mainly caused by lack of other measurable factors, combined with the fact that there is little comparable information on other cases as far as the implementation of the Wet Functiemix is concerned.

The Jan Arentz School made use of an external bureau for the application procedure, as it would increase the objectivity of the process. Both for the teachers and for the Jan Arentsz School, the definition of the LC-function and the expectations around the LC salary scale were not very clear. However, with the help of Interstudie-NDO, it was possible to formulate an objective procedure that would offer a profound basis on which the promotion decisions could be based. Interstudie-NDO decided to measure the level of the seven Wet BIO competences in all teachers that applied for the LC salary scale, by using assessmentinstruments.

6.3 Competences cannot ignore context, the two are connected inseparably There are two types of teacher quality, as defined by Fenstermacher and Richardson (2005). Quality teaching evaluates how a subject is taught, while successful teaching looks at student outcomes, making use, for instance, of standardized tests. If the differences between for example a VMBO department and a VWO department are considered, these types of teacher quality are important to take into account. Measuring quality teaching, looking at the way subjects are taught, would pay too little attention to the environment and to the type of students, and for that reason does not seem to be an effective measure of teacher quality in the context of the current study. Successful teaching on the other hand, is more promising: it takes into account the context of teaching, and also the differences between for example a VMBO and a VWO department. The teachers that were interviewed acknowledged that a VMBO student is very different from a VWO student. VMBO students require other teaching methods and levels of knowledge during the lessons. The interviewees connected different teacher qualities to different types of students, when questions about qualities of good teachers were posed. In the interviews, when only the VMBO department and its teacher quality needs were discussed, mostly didactic, communicative and pedagogic skills were considered highly important. In terms of


the VWO departmtent, on the other hand, a higher-level subject matter knowledge was perceived to be a necessity. The fit between teacher quality and the students taught is comparable to the theory of Cummings and Worley (2009), which describes the need of a fit between the environment and the organization. Competences have to be managed in such a way that they meet the needs of the environment, or in this case, the students receiving the education. The analysis of the external environment of an organization by Daft (1992), can be applied carefully to the situation of the VMBO team at the Jan Arentsz School in Alkmaar. With respect to the the simple or complex dimension, it can be argued that the School has to cope with both the government, itself as a profitable organization and student achievement. Though there might be more external elements that have an effect on the operations of the organization, these three already compute for a complex situation. The government is the factor that has been the least stable element for the Jan Arentsz School, as it has been changing demands and requirements that the school has to live up to. As also discussed during the interviews with the teachers, the recent developments on minimum requirements of student results at the final examinations are only just one example of the changes forced upon the school and the teachers. Laws such as the Wet BIO and the Wet Functiemix are created to improve teaching quality and to make the profession of a teacher more attractive, which are great intitiatives, but at the same time, they change the required output of the schools’ operations, making the environment less stable.

The relation between competences and their environment is almost always present in the definition of a competence. In general, a competence is defined to be a combination of skills, knowledge and attitude, which varies in different contexts (Merrienboer et al., 2002). Luken (2004) refers to this dependence of the competence on its context by stating that it is difficult to measure a competence as it is socially constructed, which also holds for the influence the competence has on its environment. However, examples of successful measuring of teacher quality, such as executed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in the United States, indicate that it might actually be possible to measure teacher quality in an effective way, without the teaching environment taken into consideration. The NBPTS have been measuring teacher quality competences since 1987 and have built up a real standard of certification that is acknowledged by many institutions in the education sector in the United States (Ingvarson & Rowe, 2007). The assessment process includes a variety of methods, such as classroom exercises, a portfolio and student work. The validity of the certification of the NBPTS is tested in several studies, and they all found that the certified teachers surpassed regular teachers, especially in terms of student results (Bond, Smith, Baker & Hattie, 2000; Vandervoort, Amerin-Beardsley & Berliner, 2004; Cavalluzo, 2004; Goldhaber & Anthony,


2004). Goldhaber and Anthony (2004) also found that the NBPTS method of measuring teacher quality is successful in identifying more effective teachers. Yet, they also found that the actual effect that NBPTS-teachers have on students and their results differs greatly according to grade level of departments and student type. Luken (2004) supports this last finding. He states that a measurable competence should be formulated in such a way that it fits multiple contexts, which allows achievement to be interpreted in different ways. He wonders, however, if it is even possible to formulate such competences. Looking at the Wet Functiemix and how it is used in practice at the Jan Arentsz School, the concept of context influencing job design and the competences that go along with it is clearly present. In the law, no regulations are included that an LC teacher should do a different job compared to an LB teacher; the job description remains the same. In practice though, it appears that schools interpret and use the Wet Functiemix in their own way. Teachers in Alkmaar which were questioned about the LC teacher qualities often referred to the fact that their school had added an extra task to the job description of the LC-teacher. This task, for this school, could take various shapes. One teacher does research on the working independence of students, and another develops a language-teaching program that is used throughout the whole VMBO team. Such tasks change the context of the LC function job description and the competences that are required. They may ask for specialized organizational skills, communicational skills or knowledge, whereas the basic LC function as described in the law, focussing on the improved quality of the actual teacher, restricts itself to the set of Wet BIO competences in an extensive version. The next section elaborates further on the differences in requirements and context between the LB and LC salary scales.

6.4 The difference between LB and LC is not necessarily found in being a better teacher The LB and LC salary scales are, as has been described earlier, not different by law as far as their job description is concerned. The salary scales construction in the Dutch education system forms a strange combination of job appraisal, which is forced top down upon each school by law, and jobs that can be designed in whatever way works best for every individual school. The example that is studied in this research, the Jan Arentsz School, has included an extra task in the LC function that has to be executed by the LC teacher. This is the only concrete difference between the LB- and LC-function on paper. Of course, the LB- and the LC-function each generates its own set of expectations, different per salary scale. Teachers value responsibility, communication and trust when they describe in what way their LBcolleagues’ attitude towards them is of importance. In the relation between teacher and students, didactic and pedagogic competences, which are about communication with the children, and knowledge on how to transfer information in class to the students, are valued


higher than subject matter knowledge. In this regard, the difference between a VMBO student and a VWO student is often mentioned, as having a lot of influence on the competences that are required of a teacher. One interviewee mentioned that she has colleagues teaching VWO students, who have obtained a first degree in teaching, but who are not able to teach the VMBO students. This makes the effect of context on required competences, again, quite clear. In discussions about the kind of teachers that are performing less well than desired, the problems that are often mentioned are: communication, empathy with students, keeping order in the classroom and the attitude of the teacher. Teachers who do not perform as well as others are said to have problems with the people skills and contact with students. Nothing is mentioned in those discussions, however, about knowledge, which reinforces the idea that knowledge on subject matter is not the most important competence in the VMBO department.

Subsequently, when discussing LC teachers in the interviews, the general opinion is that they should have some additional skills, which transcend their LB-capabilities. They are expected to keep track of the broader perspective and to be informed on general educational developments, and to communicate about this to their colleagues. This opinion as expressed by the teachers, fits in with the descriptions of the LC function by FUWA (2002), where supporting colleagues and keeping track of educational developments also is deemed important. The extra task that is linked to the LC salary scale at the Jan Arentsz School, will also require additional skills, such as specialized knowledge on certain topics, organizational skills or communication skills. All six teachers that were interviewed about the LB and LC job descriptions admit that there is no explicit difference in teaching quality between LB and LC; student results do not differ, neither do teaching methods or quality of teaching. However, it is assumed by the interviewees that teachers who get promoted to the LC salary scale, are competent teachers.

The seven competences of the Wet BIO, or the three competences, if the proposal for recalibration will be accepted, are suitable as basic requirements for LB teachers. However for LC teachers, their suitability strongly depends on the interpretation of each individual school of the LC function. When LC job descriptions require skills that are more geared towards organizing, doing research or leading and supporting colleagues, other competences will need to be taken into consideration when a teachers’ readiness for an LC function has to be measured


7. Conclusion 7.1 Chapter outline In this section, the main research question will be answered, which is: can the seven competences of the Wet BIO be used to measure readiness of a teacher for a promotion to the LC salary scale? When this question has been answered the limitations of the study and the recommendations for future research are discussed.

7.2 There is no magical fit between the Wet BIO competences and all contexts The seven competences of the Wet BIO intend to set the minimum standards of teaching quality in the Netherlands. The Wet Functiemix allows for career growth within the teacher profession and gives schools the freedom to set the requirements for the different salary scales by itself. Some schools and assessment consultancy companies have chosen to use the seven Wet BIO competences to measure readiness for a promotion. The choice for the Wet BIO competences derive from a lack of other material to base promotion decisions on, as there are no examples of previous job descriptions for the different salary scales. There are multiple contexts that have to be taken into account when defining competences that are required for a specific job. The types of contexts discussed in this study are the different requirements for LB and LC teachers and the requirements for someone who teaches VMBO students. Performance, explained by Fenstermacher and Richardson (2005) as a difference between successful teaching and good teaching, is not a static concept and is dependent on the context. A mix of ingredients or input will not have the same result in every context. Good teaching is not enough, the teaching must be adapted to the needs of its environment to result in successful teaching; student achievement. As Luken (2004) indicated, when writing on the difficulties of defining competences that have to take into consideration so many different contexts where achievement can be examined differently, the conclusion of this study is that it is not possible to use the competences of the Wet BIO for contexts or purposes that differ from the original intentions of this law: to set minimum standards for teacher quality. More specific, on the level of the LB and LC context, it is not possible to use the Wet BIO competences to measure a teacher`s readiness for an LC function. That is, it is not possible to do so without knowledge of what the LC function will entail in a certain context. Schools which decide to promote those teachers to the LC-scale who are ‘only’ excellent teachers can make use of the Wet BIO competences. It will remain important, hoewever, to be critical with respect to the lack of different levels of expertise within the seven competences, which was one of the points for improvement in the evaluation of the Wet BIO competences in 2011.


Furthermore, as the Wet BIO competences are used to measure whether a teacher possesses the minimum competences required for his job, measuring these factors again when assessing readiness for a promotion, seems to be a waste of time. The question whether somebody is capable as a teacher is not the question that the assessment should give an answer to. The assessment should measure those aspects that are an addition to the basic teacher requirements, or should examine whether a higher level of the basic teacher qualities has bee reached.

More clarity on what is measured and in what way, leads to a higher understanding among all teaching staff of the process of promotion opportunities and application procedures. Providing objectivity and clarity for the application procedure was, in the case of the Jan Arentsz School, a reason to hire an external company. Communication with the teachers about the expectations surrounding the LC function and the purpose of the assessment would increase this objectivity and clarity. Several teachers were disappointed after the procedure, not necessarily because they were not selected for the promotion, but because they did not understand why someone else scored better on factors that they did not even understand. However, the enthusiam of the teachers of the Jan Arentsz School about the assessment procedure that they took part in, must not be overlooked. Some still read the report frequently to keep in mind the points of development that resulted from the assessment, and others perceive the report as a replacement of the evaluation discussions with their superiors, which do not always take place. From the interviews, it was very apparent that this application procedure, even though there sometimes was some discussion on the outcomes, has a positive influence on teacher development. Teachers are willing to increase their skills and knowledge, and an assessment gives them the opportunity to find a starting point.

The Wet Functiemix was intended by the government in 2008 as an attempt to make the teacher profession more attractive, and to offer ambitious teachers promotion opportunities within their own educational core business – they did not have to consider becoming a manager.. This plan requires a whole lot of input from schools, who at the same time feel pressure to comply with the percentual goals for 2011 and 2014 that are set by the government. Job appraisal factors are set, the money is provided, and then the process of workflow analysis, job analysis and job design are supposed to be executed by the schools. But the attractiveness of a job depends on more than just the salary, which is only one example out of all the external motivation factors. The job characteristics model of Hackman and Oldham (1980) mention various other factors of work that have an influence on motivation. Skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback do not have a direct connection with salary, but concern the job description, the responsibilities and


opportunities that a job entails. The succes of the whole idea of the Functiemix largely depends on the commitment of the individual schools to take this wider set of factors into consideration, and is therefore not very certain. However, the teachers at the Jan Arentsz School were happy with the opportunity to get a promotion and a higher salary. So the Functiemix definitely has a positive effect - the question is if this effect will be, and can be, maximized in the future.

Subsequently, if sets of required competences differ per context, the question pops up whether it is possible to develop an assessment procedure that can measure these different sets of competences. Companies such as Interstudie-NDO would have to offer flexible assessments with modules that can be added or deleted, dependent on the prevailing job descriptions and the context of the client-school. Depending on the ability of a school to define a job description for the LC salary scale, a conversation about the requirements which apply to the job would enable the development of a tailor made procedure. Once competence profiles have been determined for specific contexts, it remains important to be aware of changes in the environment that need adaptation in the job descriptions or assessment procedures. The government may adapt or introduce new laws, minimum students results may be increased, the environment of a school is definitely not stable (Daft, 1992).

7.3 Limitations and recommendation for future research The main limitation of this study is that only one sample of teachers was researched. If time and cooperation of another school had allowed for it, interviewing a second sample of teachers, from a different school, would have been a valuable addition. For that reason, all assumptions are based on the interpretation by one team of teachers of the differences between the LB- and LC-function. Future research on this phenomenon would benefit from using more and larger samples to measure the differences in the interpretation of the LB and LC function. It would also make it possible to gain more knowledge about the other potential context differences that have an effect on the competences that are required to make a teacher successful. It can be expected that the conclusion of this study will apply in more general terms in other contexts. This study has focused mainly on the way in which the context of the VMBO students connected with the competences a teacher should possess, There are of course other contexts that might be of influence. You can think about the difference between urban and rural environments, between mixed and white schools and schools in problem areas as compared to schools in richer neighbourhoods. There are many contextual aspects that might influence the assessing of a teacher’s competences.


In studying those contextual aspects, it might also be interesting to research the weight of the various factors. In practice, one can never take into account all applicable factors, so a distinction between the more and less important ones is quite useful. This would especially hold for companies such as Interstudie-NDO, for which it would not be cost effective to have to take into account every little detail in the environment of a school, before developing an assessment procedure. Subsequently, as this study has focused on the differences between the LB- and LC-function, there clearly is an opportunity for research on the differences between the LB-, LC- and LDscales. The LD salary scale is the highest pay-level for teachers, but whether we come across the same problems with job descriptions and competences as in the LB/LC discussions, is an interesting question. The case of the NBPTS in the United States, measuring teachers’ competences and certifying the successful ones, requires more research. The outcome of this study would actually not allow for the success of the NBPTS. Goldhaber and Anthony (2004) mentioned that the effect on student results differs greatly per study level and student type. This asks for a more thorough investigation and may lead to further insights, beneficial for the NBPTS, but also for the execution of theWet Functiemix and the Wet BIO.


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Appendix I: Semi Structured Interview Topic: introduction Introduction of myself and my field of study. Am I allowed to record the interview? Everything the interviewee says will be processed anonymously. ● Can you tell something about yourself, who are you, how long have you been working here at this school, what did you do before this? Topic: evaluation of the assessment ● One year ago you took part in the assessment to become LC teacher. How did you like the assessment? ● Are you an LC-teacher now, or did you receive points of development that you are currently working on? ● Looking back at the assessment, can you say something about it? Did you have a positive or negative experience and did you have the feeling you could show your capabilities? Topic: teacher quality and LC teacher scales. ● How are you evaluated at this school in performance evaluation discussions? Topic: LB teachers ● What is important in the performance of a secondary school teacher at the VMBO department of the Jan Arentsz? ● What qualities do you think are important for a teacher at the VMBO department of the Jan Arentsz? ● What do you find important in the performance of teachers as your colleagues at the VMBO department of the Jan Arentsz? Topic: LC teachers ● What is important in the performance of an LC-secondary school teacher at the VMBO department of the Jan Arentsz? ● What qualities do you think are important for an LC-teacher at the VMBO department of the Jan Arentsz? ● What do you find important in the performance of LC-teachers as your colleagues at the VMBO department of the Jan Arentsz? ● What are the differences in qualities or capabilities or performance between LB and LC teachers? Topic: the external environment ● There have been many developments in the Dutch education sector the last few years, can you tell something about this, and how it affected your work at the Jan Arentsz School in the VMBO department? ● Do the changes require changes in your skills, capabilities and knowledge? Topic: examples of good practice ● Who of your colleagues is a good teacher, and why is this the case? ● We are talking about good teachers without making the distinction between LB and LC yet, who is doing well, and why? 57

What abilities, qualities, attitude, knowledge and experience does this teacher possess that make him or her so good? What are his or her strong points? ● If you look at the LC teachers, those now in the LC salary scale in your team, who is a good LC teacher in your opinion and why? ● Why are these LC teachers more fit for the LC salary scale position than their LB Colleagues? Topic: examples of bad practice ● It is a sligthly more difficult topic, but who of your colleagues is not functioning so well at the moment? Do not feel obliged to tell me names, you can keep them to yourself. ● Why are these colleagues functioning less well, what is going wrong and what are the reasons behind that? ● Is it about knowledge, attitude and skills? Or does it originate from a lack of ambition? Can this person improve him or herself in the future? ● Is it possible for colleagues performing less well to develop themselves in the future and overcome the problem? Topic: end of the interview ● There are no further questions that I would like to ask, but is there anything you would like to add to the conversation? ● Thank you for the interview!


Appendix II: The interview transcripts Due to the confidential nature of the information in this section, the author has decided to delete it from this version of the thesis.


Appendix III: Preparatory case interviews Due to the confidential nature of the information in this section, the author has decided to delete it from this version of the thesis.