No Evidence That Incentive Pay for Teacher Teams Improves Student Outcomes: Results from a Randomized Trial
May 30, 2012
Published In: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, v. 34, no. 4, Dec. 2012, p. 367-390
Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2012
Education policymakers have shown increased interest in incentive programs for teachers based on the outcomes of their students. This article examines a program in which bonuses were awarded to teams of middle school teachers based on their collective contribution to student test score gains. The study employs a randomized controlled trial to examine effects of the bonus program over the course of an academic year, with the experiment repeated a second year, and finds no significant effects on the achievement of students or the attitudes and practices of teachers. The lack of effects of team-level pay for performance in this study is consistent with other recent experiments studying the short-term effects of bonus awards for individual performance or whole-school performance.