Study of Massachusetts’ aMAzing Educators Initiative/Teacher Incentive Fund | SRI International

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Study of Massachusetts’ aMAzing Educators Initiative/Teacher Incentive Fund

SRI is studying the implementation and outcomes of a performance-based compensation system.

Since 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has contracted with SRI and Abt Associates to conduct an independent evaluation of the implementation of the aMAzing Educators Initiative. This initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) and implemented in one Massachusetts district, incorporates performance-based compensation and coaching and mentoring opportunities for educators.

The purpose of this research is to provide ESE with data on the programmatic structure, implementation, and outcomes of the initiative in that one district. To achieve this goal, the study team is examining educator perceptions around the components of the initiative and its effects on educator practices, motivation, morale, and retention. The team is also examining patterns in student achievement, teacher retention, and teacher performance under Massachusetts’ new evaluation system, and monetary awards across and within schools that received TIF funds to observe the relationship between receiving a TIF award and other outcomes. The team is exploring the combination of factors that contribute to improved student achievement in some schools.

For the final year of the study of the aMAzing Educators Initiative, we have five primary research objectives: 

  • To describe the distribution of performance-based awards over the course of the grant
  • To continue to explore educators’ perceptions of the study district’s performance-based compensation system and perceived outcomes of the program
  • To identify alternative incentives beyond performance-based compensation that might motivate teachers to improve practice
  • To describe the combination of factors that appear to have led to change in student achievement in schools involved in the performance-based compensation system
  • To explore the district’s teacher coaching program and the extent to which this program has affected teacher morale, skills, and retention

Data collection in this final year involves: interviews with educators, surveys of TIF educators, surveys of teachers involved in the district’s coaching program, and collection of extant data on teacher retention, student achievement, performance-based compensation, and teacher performance ratings under the new evaluation system.

Principal Investigator: Alix Gallagher