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A Think Twice Review of:

Transfer Incentives for High-Performing Teachers: Final Results from a Multisite Randomized Experiment

Think Twice - Jan 28, 2014

Publisher/Think Tank - Mathematica Policy Research (MPR)

Author(s) - Steven Glazerman, Ali Protik, Bing-ru Teh, Julie Bruch, and Jeffery Max

The Teacher Transfer Initiative (TTI) actively encouraged 1,500 "high-performing" elementary teachers in 10 urban school districts to transfer to low-performing schools in return for a total stipend of $20,000 distributed over two years. The teachers were all identified as having students who were in the top 20 percent in their districts, based on a value-added measure of standardized test scores. The assumption was that better teachers would get better results on standardized tests wherever they teach.

Reviewer(s) - Donald Gratz, Curry College

The results of this extensive study are not encouraging, writes reviewer Donald Gratz, who found several flaws that limit the report's usefulness for policy consideration. In his review, Gratz identifies several flaws. Among these: (1) the study does not consider the potential impact of other relevant school factors that affect teacher success, such as school leadership; and (2) while it considers the overall cost of the program, it only compares that cost to class size reduction, a generally expensive program. The most significant problem, Gratz says, is that this two-year study was too short to draw conclusions either about teacher retention or student achievement, limiting its impact and usefulness