Making Teacher Incentives Work
Lessons from North Carolina's Teacher Bonus Program
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Do teacher incentives actually make our schools better? New research on North Carolina schools by Thomas Ahn of the University of Kentucky suggests that the answer is a definitive "yes." At this AEI event, Ahn and Jacob Vigdor of Duke University will discuss their findings that a properly designed bonus program sidesteps all the major criticisms of K–12 teacher incentives. North Carolina rewards teachers based on schoolwide performance, and Ahn found that this system works better than individual-level incentives. The state's schoolwide pay-for-performance system did not create a "free rider" problem, as critics suggested, but increased both teacher effort and student achievement. Duncan Chaplin of Mathematica Policy Research and Jack Dale of Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools will respond.

11:00 AM
Registration and Luncheon

11:30 AM
THOMAS AHN, University of Kentucky
JACOB VIGDOR, Duke University


12:15 PM
DUNCAN CHAPLIN, Mathematica Policy Research
JANE HANNAWAY, Urban Institute


1:00 PM
Thomas Ahn is an assistant professor in the department of economics at the University of Kentucky. After serving as an officer in the South Korean army for three years, he returned to Duke University for a two-year postdoctorate position. He has taught at the University of Kentucky since 2009. Mr. Ahn's research interests are in examining general equilibrium implications (intended and unintended) of legislation and social structures, especially in the field of education policy and low-wage labor markets. His methodological focus is structural econometrics that uses theoretical modeling to guide statistical analysis. Mr. Ahn's articles have been published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Econometrics, the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, and the Journal of Urban Economics

Jacob Vigdor is a professor of public policy and economics at Duke University, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. His research interests are in the broad areas of education policy, housing policy, and political economy. Within those areas, Mr. Vigdor has published numerous scholarly articles on the topics of residential segregation, immigration, housing affordability, the consequences of gentrification, the determinants of student achievement in elementary school, the causes and consequences of delinquent behavior among adolescents, teacher turnover, civic participation and voting patterns, and racial inequality in the labor market. These articles have been published in outlets such as the Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Public Economics, the Journal of Human Resources, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Mr. Vigdor's scholarly activities have been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Spencer Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. Mr. Vigdor has taught at Duke since 1999.

Duncan Chaplin is a Mathematica senior researcher with nearly twenty years of research and evaluation experience. Mr. Chaplin is an expert in teacher performance, evaluation, and incentive programs. He has extensive experience working with districts, charter-management organizations, and nonprofits to use their longitudinal data systems to create robust value-added measures of teacher performance based on student achievement. For the national evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), he is helping lead the provision of technical assistance to districts, states, and education organizations that received TIF grants from the Department of Education. This random-assignment study will estimate the impact of performance-based compensation systems on student achievement, teacher quality, and teacher mobility. During his career, Mr. Chaplin has conducted research on many key student outcomes in addition to test scores, such as dropout and graduation rates and earnings. In addition, he has successfully worked with nonprofits to develop and conduct random-assignment evaluations of their interventions, served on national expert panels, published in academic and nonacademic journals, and been cited by national and local newspapers.

Jane Hannaway is a principal research associate and director of the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she oversees the center's work and is a member of the institute's senior management team. She is also director of the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, a federally funded national research and development center. Ms. Hannaway previously served on the faculty of Columbia, Princeton, and Stanford Universities. She was also a senior researcher with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. She has authored, coauthored, or coedited seven books and numerous papers in education and management journals. Ms. Hannaway is past vice president of the American Educational Research Association and also a member of the executive board.  She was elected to the council of the Association for Public Policy and Management and the executive board of the American Education Finance Association.

Mark Schneider is a vice president at the American Institutes for Research, based in Washington, DC, and a visiting scholar at AEI. He served as the US commissioner of education statistics from 2005 to 2008. He is also a distinguished professor emeritus of political science at the State University of New York-Stony Brook. Mr. Schneider is the author of numerous articles and books on education policy, including the edited book Higher Education Accountability (Palgrave, 2010), Charter Schools: Hope or Hype? (Princeton University Press, 2007), and Choosing Schools (Princeton University Press, 2000), which won the Policy Study Organization's Aaron Wildavsky Best Book Award. Mr. Schneider's current work focuses on accountability in higher education and charter schools. He has been working on increasing accountability by making data on college productivity more publicly available. To that end, he is one of the creators of

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