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Teacher Performance Incentives and Student Outcomes

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Abstract

This paper reviews the evidence on the effectiveness of individual merit pay systems for teachers on student achievement, and it presents new empirical results based on a system established within a collective bargaining environment. While many merit pay systems have been established in school districts across the U.S., very little empirical evidence concerning their influence on student achievement exists. A natural experiment arose in a county in which one high school piloted a merit pay system that rewarded student retention and student evaluations of teachers while another comparable high school maintained a traditional compensation system. A difference-in-differences analysis implies that this system had no effect on grade point averages, reduced the percentage of students who dropped out of courses, reduced average daily attendance, and increased the percentage of students who failed. The outcomes of this merit pay system illustrate the difficulty of instituting such a compensation system in schools. The goal of the system was to increase student retention. A student was considered to be retained in a class if the student was present during a randomly selected day of the last week of classes. The system "worked" by this measure because the school experienced a significant reduction in course noncompleters. However it is not clear that this measure was correlated with student achievement or even average attendance, and indeed, neither of these outcomes were improved.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall Eberts & Kevin Hollenbeck & Joe Stone, 2000. "Teacher Performance Incentives and Student Outcomes," Upjohn Working Papers 00-65, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:00-65
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    1. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    2. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718.
    3. Dale Ballou & Michael Podgursky, 1996. "Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number tptq, july-dece.
    4. Eberts, Randall W & Stone, Joe A, 1991. "Unionization and Cost of Production: Compensation, Productivity, and Factor-Use Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 171-185, April.
    5. Eberts, Randall W & Stone, Joe A, 1986. "Teacher Unions and the Cost of Public Education," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(4), pages 631-643, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    merit pay; teachers; student achievement; Eberts; Hollenbeck; Stone;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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