Performance Incentives for Teachers
1. Performance Incentives for Teachers and Administrators
Eric A. Hanushek, Texas Schools Project , University of Texas at Dallas and Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Testimony before the SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION REFORM & PUBLIC SCHOOL FINANCE, TEXAS STATE SENATE
Paul Glewwe, Nauman Ilias, and Michael Kremer, April 2003
Advocates of teacher incentive programs argue that they can strengthen weak incentives, while opponents argue they lead to "teaching to the test." We find evidence that existing teacher incentives in Kenya are indeed weak, with teachers absent 20% of the time. We then report on a randomized evaluation of a program that provided primary school teachers in rural Kenya with incentives based on students' test scores. Students in program schools had higher test scores, significantly so on at least some exams, during the time the program was in place. An examination of the channels through which this effect took place, however, provides little evidence of more teacher effort aimed at increasing long-run learning. Teacher attendance did not improve, homework assignment did not increase, and pedagogy did not change. There is, however, evidence that teachers increased effort to raise short-run test scores by conducting more test preparation sessions. While students in treatment schools scored higher than their counterparts in comparison schools during the life of the program, they did not retain these gains after the end of the program, consistent with the hypothesis that teachers focused on manipulating short-run scores. In order to discourage dropouts, students who did not test were assigned low scores. Program schools had the same dropout rate as comparison schools, but a higher percentage of students in program schools took the test.
3. Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Hebrew University Economics Working Paper No. 01-5
Proposals to use teachers' performance incentives as the basis for school reforms have recently attracted considerable attention and support among researchers and policy makers. The main message is that the most likely way to improve students' achievements is to institute performance incentives, direct monetary rewards for improvements in student outcomes. However, there has been very little experience with applying performance incentives in schools. This paper provides empirical evidence on the causal effect of a program that offered monetary incentives to teachers as a function of their students' achievements. The program offered incentives to schools in the form of performance awards, part of which were distributed to teachers and school staff as merit pay and the rest, for the well-being of teachers in the school. I evaluate the effect of the program during the first two full academic years of its implementation, 1996 and 1997. Since participating schools were not chosen randomly, the issue of identification is central to the empirical strategy. The second part of the paper evaluates the effect of a "twin" program, implemented simultaneously and with the same objectives as the incentive program, but in different schools, and based on providing additional resources to schools. The paper compares the effect and cost of the two alternative intervention strategies and draws policy implications.