Teacher Incentives Fall Short in Chicago Study
"An Evaluation of the Chicago Teacher Advancement Program After Four Years"
The Chicago Teacher Advancement Program increased mentoring and improved teacher-retention rates in some participating schools compared with similar, nonparticipating schools—but didn't appear to raise student achievement, according to a study released last week by Mathematica Policy Research.
It is the final report on the Chicago TAP program, a complex initiative that knits together professional development, advancement roles for "master" and "mentor" teachers, an evaluation system, and performance-based compensation. It's being used in districts across the country and has expanded significantly under the federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant program.
The Mathematica study determined that:
• More years of TAP did not seem to affect test scores;
• The program's positive impact on teacher-retention rates seemed most pronounced for the cohort that began implementing the program in 2007. The retention rate over three years for that group was 67 percent, compared with 56 percent of teachers in non-TAP schools; and
• Teachers in the TAP schools met with their mentors for a total of three hours compared with about 1 hours for teachers in the control group. Mentor teachers were more likely than non-TAP veterans to provide other teachers with literacy strategies, help in setting instructional goals, and preparing lesson plans, among other assistance.
Vol. 31, Issue 24, Page 5