Saturday, August 27, 2011

Teaching Performance Bonus Evaluation

In "A Big Apple for Educators: New York City's Experiment with Schoolwide Performance Bonuses", RAND Corporation reports that providing extra money to schools as an incentive did not improve student results. This may be because the bonuses were not large enough, or because in most cases the money was not allocated to the top teachers in the schools. Or it may just be that such bonuses do not work.

A Big Apple for Educators

New York City's Experiment with Schoolwide Performance Bonuses: Final Evaluation Report

by Julie A. Marsh, Matthew G. Springer, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Kun Yuan, Scott Epstein, Julia Koppich, Nidhi Kalra, Catherine DiMartino, Art (Xiao) Peng

In the 2007–2008 school year, the New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers jointly implemented the Schoolwide Performance Bonus Program in a random sample of the city's high-needs public schools. The program lasted for three school years, and its broad objective was to improve student performance through school-based financial incentives. The question, of course, was whether it was doing so. To examine its implementation and effects, the department tasked a RAND Corporation-led partnership with the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University to conduct a two-year study of the program that would offer an independent assessment. This report describes the results of our analyses for all three years of the program, from 2007–2008 through 2009–2010. This work built on past research and was guided by a theory of action articulated by program leaders. Researchers examined student test scores; teacher, school staff, and administrator surveys; and interviews with administrators, staff members, program sponsors, and union and district officials. The researchers found that the program did not, by itself, improve student achievement, perhaps in part because conditions needed to motivate staff were not achieved (e.g., understanding, buy-in for the bonus criteria) and because of the high level of accountability pressure all the schools already faced.

Document Details

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 312
  • ISBN/EAN: 9780833052513
  • Document Number: MG-1114-FPS
  • Year: 2011


  1. Introduction

  2. Background on Pay-for-Performance Programs and the New York City SPBP

  3. Research Methods

  4. Implementation of the Schoolwide Performance Bonus Program: Attitudes About and Understanding of the Program

  5. Implementation of the Schoolwide Performance Bonus Program: Compensation Committee Process and Distribution Plans

  6. Implementation of the Schoolwide Performance Bonus Program: Perceived Effects of the Bonus and Program Participation

  7. Effects on Progress Report and Student Test Scores

  8. Teacher Attitudes and Behaviors in SPBP and Control Schools

  9. Conclusions and Implications

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