Saturday, March 5, 2011

An Evaluation of Merit Pay in Chicago Public Schools

"In 2007, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) began implementing a school-wide reform called the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) using funds from the federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) and private foundations. Under the TAP model, teachers can earn extra pay and responsibilities through promotion to mentor or master teacher as well as annual performance bonuses based on a combination of their value added to student achievement and observed performance in the classroom. The model also includes weekly meetings of teachers and mentors (-"cluster groups"), and regular classroom observations by a school leadership team to help teachers meet their performance goals. The idea behind the program is that performance incentives, combined with tools for teachers to track performance and improve instruction, should help schools attract and retain talented teachers and help all teachers produce greater student achievement.

After the second year of CPS rolling out TAP, we found no evidence that the program raised student test scores. Student achievement growth as measured by average math and reading scores on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) did not differ significantly between TAP and comparable non-TAP schools."