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A Think Twice Review of:

Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Final Report on Implementation and Impact of Pay-for-Performance Across Four Years

Think Twice - Feb 27, 2018

Publisher/Think Tank - Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

Author(s) - Hanley Chiang, Cecilia Speroni, Mariesa Herrmann, Kristin Hallgren, Paul Burkander, and Alison Wellington

The final report from a four-year evaluation of 2010 Teacher Incentive Fund grant recipients was released late in 2017. The evaluation project sought to determine whether pay-for-performance (PFP) bonuses for teachers and principals resulted in improved student achievement. The final report found that test scores in reading and math increased slightly among the 2010 TIF recipients. It also found that the incentives were associated with higher classroom observation ratings, but the report found no association between test scores and observation ratings. Findings also indicated that the incentives had no effect on filling teacher vacancies.

Reviewer(s) - Francesca López, University of Arizona

An academic review of the report finds that the report lacks utility for those seeking to learn from the implementation of PFP. Despite the potentially interesting findings on the varied impact of the TIF program recipients, López in her review found several problematic issues with the analyses in the report. Because the report used non-comparable sites and incorporated a “polyglot of outcome measures of questionable validity,” she finds the report is of little use to policymakers seeking to learn from implementation of TIF. López writes, “Although several thorough analyses are presented, the data do not support the report’s suggestion that PFP holds promise to address achievement disparities.”