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Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT

March 24, 2014 09:00 AM

Presented at the 2013 Fall Research Conference, Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT was part of the session Selecting and Motivating Teachers. This week's featured selection from APPAM's Online Paper Collection was written by Thomas Dee, Stanford University and James Wyckoff, University of Virginia.

Teachers in the United States are compensated largely on the basis of fixed schedules that reward experience and credentials. However, there is a growing interest in whether performance-based incentives based on rigorous teacher evaluations can improve teacher retention and performance. The evidence available to date has been mixed at best. This study presents novel evidence on this topic based on IMPACT, the controversial teacher-evaluation system introduced in the District of Columbia Public Schools by then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee. IMPACT implemented uniquely high-powered incentives linked to multiple measures of teacher performance (i.e., several structured observational measures as well as test performance).

The authors' RD results indicate that dismissal threats increased the voluntary attrition of low-performing teachers by 11 percentage points (i.e., more than 50 percent) and improved the performance of teachers who remained. They also find evidence that financial incentives further improved the performance of high-performing teachers.

Read the full paper [PDF]

 

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