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Mexico’s Carrera Magisterial is one of the pioneer teacher incentive programs in the world. It was instituted in 1992 and designed jointly by the federal education authorities, state authorities, and the teachers’ union as a horizontal promotion system that rewards teachers with salary bonuses on the basis of their performance. Teacher performance is evaluated through a series of assessments, including teacher and student tests. The program has never been formally and independently evaluated even though it encompasses hundreds of thousands of teachers and is responsible for allocating millions of dollars in salary bonuses every year. The Mexican Ministry of Education (Secretaría de Educación Públic) posed the question: How can Carrera Magisterial be reformed to help it increase educational quality in Mexico? This monograph presents the results from the work addressing this question. While Breaking Ground (an English translation of Haciendo camino: Análisis del sistema de evaluación y del impacto del programa de estímulos docentes Carrera Magisterial en México, MG-471/1-EDU, 2006) is concerned specifically with evaluating Carrera Magisterial’s system of teacher evaluation and is thus of particular interest to education policymakers at Mexico’s Ministry of Education, it also offers general insights regarding teacher incentives and assessments that may serve to inform a broad audience of policymakers, educators, and the general public interested in the field of teacher reform.

The research in this report was conducted by RAND Education, unit of the RAND Corporation. This research was sponsored by Mexican Ministry of Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública).

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