Performance pay plans for teachers are a hot topic across the nation, so the country’s largest program is bound to attract attention. But caution is advised. This is a state-sponsored program evaluation of Texas’ most recent incentive pay program rather than research, and it suffers from two major constraints: data not collected and questions not asked. First, although billed as “final,” data on teacher retention and teacher perceptions include only one award cycle, and student achievement data cover just two program years—not enough data to draw solid conclusions. In addition, little is known about how districts actually implemented D.A.T.E., or about such factors as school culture, leadership and class size. Second, the report primarily explores narrow descriptive questions about the Texas program—who participated and why, what design factors they chose to implement, and so forth. It does not consider broader questions such as whether incentive pay produces positive results, not just higher test scores, and under what conditions. The report simply answers the generally descriptive questions it poses, and its authors properly caution against drawing unwarranted conclusions beyond those questions.
Suggested Citation: Gratz, D.B. (2011). Review of “District Awards for Teacher Excellence Program: Final Report.” Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-district-awards