At a Glance
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
Project Time Frame:
Talent Transfer Initiative: Attracting and Retaining High-Performing Teachers in Low-Performing Schools
Research shows that high quality teachers are critical to raising student achievement, but the schools that need the most improvement often have trouble attracting and retaining high quality teachers. Although the nature of the problem is well documented, research has failed to produce empirical evidence on the impacts of interventions aimed at recruiting and retaining effective teachers.
Mathematica was selected by the U.S. Department of Education to develop, implement, and study an effort to use teacher transfer incentives in selected school districts. Known as the Talent Transfer Initiative, the intervention identified a district’s high-performing teachers and offered them incentives for moving to and staying in its low-performing schools for up to two years. The study focused on reading/language arts and math instruction in grades 3 to 8. The intervention was pilot tested in one district, where it was known as Project RISE, and was scaled up to include additional districts for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.
Using a rigorous design, the study gave school districts valuable guidance on the following questions:
How TTI Worked
Teacher identification and recruitment. High-performing teachers within a district were identified by the contribution they made to students’ test scores using “value-added” analysis. High-performing teachers who were not already teaching at low-performing schools were invited to apply. Those already teaching in such schools were offered retention incentives.
School identification and recruitment. The study team worked with district personnel to identify eligible schools. To be eligible, schools must have had low test scores and a vacancy in a tested grade and subject. Principals of eligible schools were invited to sign up for the program. In each district, an average of eight schools were selected and given a chance to hire at least one high-performing teacher.
Transfer support. Site managers with The New Teacher Project (TNTP) worked with local district staff to create opportunities for principals to interview high-performing teachers and help with the transfer process.
Teacher benefits. High-performing teachers who accepted new positions in the low-performing schools received a stipend of $10,000 per year for up to two years. High-performing teachers who kept their current positions in low-performing schools received a stipend of $5,000 per year for up to two years.
Who Implemented TTI?
TNTP worked in partnership with the following ten districts to implement the Talent Transfer Initiative: