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

The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) provides grants to support performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals in high-need schools. The study measures the impact of pay-for-performance bonuses as part of a comprehensive compensation system within a large, multisite random assignment study design. The treatment schools were to fully implement their performance-based compensation system that included four required components. The control schools were to implement the same performance-based compensation system with one exception—the pay-for-performance bonus component was replaced with a one percent bonus paid to all educators regardless of performance. This first of four planned reports provides implementation information prior to educators receiving annual performance measure information or payouts. Fewer than half of all 2010 TIF districts reported implementing all four required program components, although 85 percent reported implementing at least three of the four. In a subset of 10 districts who participated in the random assignment study, educators' reporting of the program indicated most misunderstood the performance measures and the amount of pay-for-performance bonus that they were eligible for. Most educators were satisfied with their professional opportunities, school environment, and the TIF program. Educators in those schools that offered the pay-for-performance aspect of TIF tended to be less satisfied than those in schools that did not offer such bonuses. However, educators in schools offering pay-for-performance bonuses were more satisfied with the opportunity to earn additional pay, and a greater percentage indicated feeling increased pressure to perform due to the TIF program.

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