Panel Paper: Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT

Saturday, November 9, 2013 : 8:00 AM
Scott (Westin Georgetown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Thomas Dee, Stanford University and James Wyckoff, University of Virginia
High-quality teaching can make substantive contributions to the educational and economic success of students. However, teacher compensation is conventionally designed to reward credentials and experience that have not been linked to teacher effectiveness. The alleged shortcomings of this status quo have catalyzed new interest in creating “performance based compensation systems” (PBCS) that might both encourage teacher effectiveness and promote the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers. Using an unprecedented amount of resources from the 2009 stimulus legislation, the U.S. Department of Education recently encouraged the implementation of the PCBS in “high-need” schools through Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) awards. The districts that received these large competitive awards agreed to implement comprehensive PBCS in their participating, eligible schools. Federal regulations require that these PBCS include teacher evaluations based on student performance and classroom observations, stakeholder buy-in, the use of teacher professional development and the development of data systems to support these reforms. Using data from the TIF awardees in one large state, this study provides early evidence on how these high-profile reforms have influenced both the teacher workforce (e.g., through retention decisions) and measures of school performance. The research design proposed here seeks to identify the causal effects of TIF-funded reforms through a “regression-discontinuity” design that leverages the discontinuous assignment mechanism that defines the “high need” schools that are TIF-eligible.