Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Implementation and Early Impacts of Pay-for-Performance After One Year: Executive Summary

Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
Sep 16, 2014
Authors
Jeffrey Max, Jill Constantine, Alison Wellington, Kristin Hallgren, Steven Glazerman, Hanley Chiang, and Cecilia Speroni

The main findings for all TIF districts include the following:

  • Fewer than half of districts reported implementing all required components of the TIF program, evidence that full implementation is a challenge.
  • Consistent with the TIF grant goals, grantees expected pay-for-performance bonuses to be somewhat substantial and differentiated. However, districts expected most educators would receive a bonus, suggesting that the award criteria were not consistent with TIF guidance for challenging pay-for-performance bonuses.

The key findings for the 10 evaluation districts include the following:

  • Many educators misunderstood the performance measures and the pay-for-performance bonuses used for TIF.
  • Most teachers and principals are satisfied with their professional opportunities, school environment, and the TIF program.

  • Educators in schools that offered pay-for-performance bonuses tended to be less satisfied than those in schools that did not offer such bonuses.

Recent efforts to attract and retain effective educators and to improve teaching practices have focused on reforming evaluation and compensation systems for teachers and principals. In 2006, Congress established the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), which provides grants to support performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals in high-need schools. The TIF grants have two goals:

  • Reform compensation systems to reward educators for improving students’ achievement
  • Increase the number of high-performing teachers in high-need schools and hard-to-staff subjects

The incentives and support offered through TIF grants aim to improve student achievement by improving educator effectiveness and the quality of the teacher workforce.

This is the first of four planned reports from a multiyear study focusing on the TIF grants awarded in 2010. It examines grantees’ implementation experiences and intermediate educator outcomes near the end of the first year of program implementation, before the first pay-for-performance payouts to teachers and principals.