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Teacher Retention: Estimating The Effects Of Financial Incentives In Denver


It's kind of amazing that the bonus for getting a masters' degree (which we know has zero impact on student learning) is so much higher than the bonus for working in a high-poverty school. Was this a union priority?

Sorry, Stuart, but your negative comment doesn't fly. Do you have statistics to back up your "zero" claim? The point of this article is that financial incentives do not seem to have to expected affect on achievement.

I'm now a retired teacher after 27 years. I taught at the midschool and high school level. The majority of those years at two high poverty high schools. I made a living wage. What burned me out was an eroding lack of support by successive administrations and focus on test preparedness taking away from instruction time. Why don't they do studies on the differences of teacher satisfaction and retention when administrators back up the teachers on discipline and not bothering them on silly issues like requiring nonsense charts and grafts on you walls, anal retentive goals, etc.

Brian, check out this study for just one example:

Paying more for advanced degrees, training, or working at poor schools seems qualitatively different than paying for performance/test scores. Does this research suggest that one or the other led to the reported retention improvements?

Stuart: All the terms of ProComp were jointly agreed to by the district and union. As Gonring and his co-authors describe in their book, this is what has set ProComp apart and made it potentially more successful than more top-down alternative pay policies. Demian: You are right that the incentives available under ProComp fall into different categories: 1) performance-based, 2) knowledge/skill-based, and 3) market-based. I did not attempt to tease apart which types of incentives teachers are most likely to respond to in my study summarized above but survey and interview data suggest (perhaps not surprisingly) that teachers are most supportive of knowledge/skills-based and market-based incentives.

Thanks for the additional info Ellie. Based on past research on performance based incentives (from Deci and others), I would expect that performance-based incentives would undermine intrinsic motivation and therefore hurt retention so I was initially surprised when I saw a summary of your research finding. However, given the relative weight of the knowledge/skills-based and market-based incentives and the survey/interview data, the result makes more sense. It would be nice to eventually tease apart the links, but this is still an interesting result. Thanks.


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