Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from Impact

51 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2013

See all articles by Thomas S. Dee

Thomas S. Dee

Stanford University - School of Education; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

James Wyckoff

University of Virginia

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

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).

Suggested Citation

Dee, Thomas S. and Wyckoff, James, Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from Impact (October 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19529, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2342009

Thomas S. Dee (Contact Author)

Stanford University - School of Education ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-3096
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

James Wyckoff

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
26
Abstract Views
235
PlumX Metrics