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Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: bonuses

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November 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Teacher bonuses: A smart way to boost low test scores?

Mark Weber / Op Art

Mark Weber / Op Art

What would happen if teachers with a track record of raising test scores transferred into low-performing schools, enticed by a $20,000 bonus?

In middle school, not much, according to a new study by Mathematica Policy Research.  In elementary schools, however, the study found the transferring teachers raised test scores more than a control group.

The study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, was conducted in 10 school districts in seven different states. The districts offered the bonuses to teachers who ranked in the top 20 percent in their districts in raising student test scores, and 81 teachers participated. To get the bonus, they had to agree to stay at the low-scoring school for at least two years.


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