Contractor: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; The New Teacher Project; Optimal Solutions Group
Title II, Part A, the Improving Teacher State Formula Grants program, is the primary federal funding under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to support a high quality teacher in every classroom. The program, funded at $2.5 billion in FY12, targets high poverty districts and funds a broad array of allowable activities including recruitment, retention, and merit-based teacher pay strategies.
Research indicates that high quality teachers are critical to raising student achievement in low-performing schools, but schools most in need often have difficulty in attracting and retaining high-quality teachers. This evaluation studies implementation of a policy, known to participating study school districts as the Talent Transfer Initiative (TTI), that provides incentives to identified high value-added teachers to teach in low-performing schools with high-need students. The research questions are:
The study is being conducted in 10 school districts (168 school-grade teams in 112 schools) and the design consists of segmenting the schools within districts to those eligible and not eligible for the treatment (the pay incentive). The treatment eligible schools are randomly assigned to receive the treatment or not. Using value added, high-performing teachers teaching in the non-eligible schools are identified. The two-year treatment, conducted in school years 2009–10 and 2010–11 (in 7 of the districts) and 2010–11 and 2012 (in an additional 3 districts), consists of hiring among the pool of those identified as high performing and interested in teaching in the treatment schools. The control schools follow normal hiring practices. Program transfer teachers receive a transfer incentive of $10,000 for each of the two years that they remain in the treatment school. Existing teachers in study eligible schools that meet program criteria and remain in their school receive a retention payment of $5,000 a year. Data collection includes measures of teacher characteristics and hiring experiences, district/school hiring experiences and practices, and student achievement obtained from administrative records.
Cost/Duration: $11,682,525 over 5½ years (September 2007 – March 2014)
Analyses are underway for an evaluation brief to be released in Fall 2014. An evaluation brief, Do Low-Income Students have Equal Access to the Highest-Performing Teachers, was released in April 2011 (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20114016/index.asp). The first report was released in April 2012 (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20124051/index.asp). A second report was released in November 2013 (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20144003/index.asp). A second evaluation brief, A Summary of Recent IES Research on Access to Effective Teaching, was released in January 2014 (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20144010/index.asp).
The second report examined the willingness of teachers to transfer when offered an incentive, teacher retention in the schools to which they transferred, and the impact on student achievement at the low-performing schools. The study found that:
The second evaluation brief highlighted and summarized three IES studies and found that: