Translating Evidence into Improvement
Translating Evidence into Improvement

Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT

Author/s: 
Thomas Dee, James Wyckoff
Year of Publication: 
2013
Publication: 
Working Paper No. 19529

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).

Research Areas:

APA Citation

Dee, T., & Wyckoff, J. (2013). Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT (Working Paper No. 19529).

Media Mentions

April 03, 2014. Defining Ideas. We Need Better Teachers
October 31, 2013. Taking Note - Thoughts on education from John Merrow. A Rash of Studies on Michelle Rhee's IMPACT
October 21, 2013. National Journal. Rhee's D.C. Teacher-Evaluation System Is Working
October 21, 2013. Diane Ravitch Blog. Schneider on DC IMPACT Study: Already Obsolete
October 21, 2013. Washington Post Opinion. An improving record for D.C. Public Schools
October 21, 2013. CNN. New Study on DC Teacher Evaluation
October 20, 2013. DEUTSCH29 BLOG. The DC IMPACT Study Results : Already Obsolete
October 18, 2013. National Review Online. Interpreting the Important New Research on D.C.'s IMPACT System
October 17, 2013. New America Foundation. What to Think About the DC IMPACT Study
October 17, 2013. Education Week. Study: DC teachers improving performance
October 17, 2013. Yahoo News. Study: DC teachers improving performance
October 17, 2013. MSN Money. Study: DC teachers improving performance
October 17, 2013. SFGate. Study: DC teachers improving performance
October 17, 2013. Bloomberg Businessweek. Study: DC teachers improving performance
October 17, 2013. Houston Chronicle. Study: DC teachers improving performance
October 17, 2013. Newstimes.com. Study: DC teachers improving performance
October 17, 2013. The New York Times. Study Finds Gains From Teacher Evaluations
October 17, 2013. NBC News. Study: D.C. Teachers Improving Performance
October 17, 2013. Eduwonk. IMPACT From Teacher Eval?
October 17, 2013. CBC Baltimore. Study: D.C. Teachers Improving Performance
October 17, 2013. USA Today. Study: Program in D.C. removed bad teachers
October 17, 2013. Marketplace. Guess what? Giving good teachers bonuses works