Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Teachers don't respond to incentives

In a three-year study, some Nashville math teachers were offered bonuses of up to $15,000 based on their students' scores on standardized exams:

With respect to test scores in mathematics, we find no significant difference overall between students whose teachers were assigned to the treatment group and those whose teachers were assigned to the control group.
To conclude, there is little evidence that POINT incentives induced teachers to make substantial changes to their instructional practices or their level of effort.

The study found neither better test scores nor higher effort levels associated with paying fairly sizable bonuses.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine quit his 20 years in IT career to go back and teach math in Nashville. He lasted 7 months - then went back to corporate/project management.

    Makes you wonder what their motivation (the math teachers) really is.

    Check out this animation from RSA -
    Where studies suggest monetary rewards work in reverse for cognitive work.