Teaching Profession Report Roundup

Schoolwide Pay Experiment In NYC Yields Few Gains

By Stephen Sawchuk — February 08, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

New York City schools’ now-suspended experiment in schoolwide bonus pay for teachers didn’t seem to raise student achievement overall—and in schools with many teachers, it also may have diluted individual incentives for boosting achievement growth, concludes a new study by two Columbia University economists.

But in those schools with high levels of teacher collaboration, and a small staff, the report goes on, it might have had some slight benefits.

For the study, scheduled to be published this spring in Education Next, the economists focused on the first two years of the district’s schoolwide performance-bonus program, instituted in the 2005 contract and begun in 2007. Under the program, schools that won bonuses for reaching schoolwide-achievement goals received a lump-sum payment equal to $1,500 or $3,000 per teacher. Teams of two administrators and two teachers in each school had freedom to allot the awards as they liked as long as every teacher got at least some bonus payout.

The researchers compared results for 181 schools implementing the bonus program with those of 128 schools in a control group with similar characteristics that didn’t implement it. They found that the schoolwide bonus pay didn’t seem to affect student achievement, teachers’ instructional techniques, absenteeism rates, or the quality of the teaching pool for the majority of schools. In the second year, eligibility for the program may have even slightly depressed mathematics achievement in general.

Signs of student-achievement growth were found, however, in participating schools with the fewest math teachers, where incentives for individual teachers to work hard were stronger. Schools with more math and reading teachers did not show such growth. The authors said such findings suggest that some teachers may have been “free-riding” on their colleagues’ success.

High levels of teacher collaboration (as measured by a “cohesion index” based on teacher-survey reports) did exert a slight upward pressure on math scores, but in most instances, it wasn’t enough to improve students’ test scores, according to the study.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 09, 2011 edition of Education Week as No ‘Bonus’ in Pay Study

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind
Student Achievement K-12 Essentials Forum Tutoring Done Right: How to Get the Highest Impact for Learning Recovery
Join us as we highlight and discuss the evidence base for tutoring, best practices, and different ways to provide it at scale.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Meet the 5 Teachers Being Considered for National Teacher of the Year
From P.E. to culturally responsive teaching, the finalists all find ways to connect to their students.
7 min read
National Teachers of the Year
Clockwise from top left: Carolyn Kielma from Connecticut, Jermar Rountree from D.C., Rebecka Peterson from Oklahoma, Harlee Harvey from Alaska, Kimberly Radostits from Illinois
Teaching Profession Scared, Anxious, Worried: States’ New Restrictions Have Teachers on Edge
Even math and science teachers say they're self-censoring and frightened about falling afoul of the policies.
6 min read
Image of caution tape near the teacher's desk in the classroom.
enjoynz/DigitalVision Vectors + EdWeek
Teaching Profession Morning Rituals Educators Swear By to Start the Day Right
From yoga and exercise to greeting each student by name, educators share their best tips for a great start to the school day.
1 min read
Image of a clock on a spiral notebook.
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession The IRS Increased the Teacher Tax Deduction. Will It Help?
Teachers use the deduction to offset the cost of classroom supplies.
1 min read
Image of school supplies
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty