Promoting Educator Effectiveness: The Effects of Two Key Strategies

NCEE Evaluation Brief
Publisher: Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
Mar 21, 2018
Andrew Wayne, Michael Garet, Alison Wellington, and Hanley Chiang

Key Findings:

  • Providing educators with performance feedback and offering pay-for-performance bonuses can improve student achievement. Across years of implementation, each tested strategy sometimes had a positive cumulative impact on students’ math or reading achievement.
  • Features of the measures or programs and on-the-ground implementation may limit the effectiveness of the program strategies. Both studies provided evidence that the policy as implemented differed in some ways from the approach envisioned. For example, in the pay-for-performance study, about 40 percent of the teachers were unaware they were eligible to receive a performance bonus.
  • Educators can be receptive to some of the evaluation and compensation strategies supported by TIF and TSL. Sixty-five to 84 percent of the educators reported being satisfied with the feedback they received on their practices. In addition, pay-for-performance ultimately led to improvements in teachers’ satisfaction with some aspects of their jobs.
This brief brings together the findings of two studies from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) that examined specific strategies supported by TIF. One study, conducted over two years, examined the effects of using research-based performance measures to evaluate educators and provide them with feedback—a strategy referred to here as performance feedback. The second study, conducted over four years, evaluated the effects of offering bonuses to educators based on their performance ratings—a strategy referred to as pay-for-performance. Although no single large-scale study has evaluated the effects of a full, comprehensive program, like those supported by TIF and TSL, these studies can provide insight on the potential effects of two strategies that are prominent in such programs. In addition, evidence from both studies suggests areas of potential improvement for programs that support or expand human capital initiatives in schools and highlights potential avenues for future research.

Pay-for-Performance: Evaluating the Teacher Incentive Fund


U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Evaluation

Time Frame


Senior Staff

Alison Wellington
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Hanley Chiang
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