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Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT

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  • Thomas Dee
  • James Wyckoff

Abstract

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). We present regression-discontinuity (RD) estimates that compare the retention and performance outcomes among low-performing teachers whose ratings placed them near the threshold that implied a strong dismissal threat. We also compare outcomes among high-performing teachers whose rating placed them near a threshold that implied an unusually large financial incentive. Our 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 by 0.27 of a teacher-level standard deviation. We also find evidence that financial incentives further improved the performance of high-performing teachers (effect size = 0.24).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19529.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19529

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References

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  1. Clotfelter, Charles & Glennie, Elizabeth & Ladd, Helen & Vigdor, Jacob, 2008. "Would higher salaries keep teachers in high-poverty schools? Evidence from a policy intervention in North Carolina," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1352-1370, June.
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  3. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2011. "The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood," NBER Working Papers 17699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Jesse Rothstein, 2012. "Teacher quality policy when supply matters," Working Papers 2012/35, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  7. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Steven D. Levitt & John List & Sally Sadoff, 2012. "Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Steven Glazerman & Eric Isenberg & Sarah Dolfin & Martha Bleeker & Amy Johnson & Mary Grider & Matthew Jacobus, 2010. "Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction: Final Results from a Randomized Controlled Study," Mathematica Policy Research Reports, Mathematica Policy Research 6811, Mathematica Policy Research.
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  13. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
  14. Murnane, Richard J, 1984. "Selection and Survival in the Teacher Labor Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 513-18, August.
  15. Steven Glazerman & Eric Isenberg & Sarah Dolfin & Martha Bleeker & Amy Johnson & Mary Grider & Matthew Jacobus, 2010. "Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction: Final Results from a Randomized Controlled Study," Mathematica Policy Research Reports, Mathematica Policy Research 7080, Mathematica Policy Research.
  16. Steven Glazerman & Daniel Mayer & Paul Decker, 2006. "Alternative routes to teaching: The impacts of Teach for America on student achievement and other outcomes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 75-96.
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Cited by:
  1. Cory Koedel & Jiaxi Li, 2014. "The Efficiency Implications of Using Proportional Evaluations to Shape the Teaching Workforce," Working Papers, Department of Economics, University of Missouri 1402, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

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