Transfer Incentives for High Performing Teachers (In Focus Brief)

Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
Nov 30, 2013
Steven Glazerman, Ali Protik, Bing-ru Teh, Julie Bruch, and Jeffrey Max
  • A $20,000 incentive for high-performing teachers to move to low-performing schools has helped raise the math and reading test scores of elementary students by 4 to 10 percentile points.
  • Although there was no evidence of impacts in middle schools, the combined impact on elementary and middle school grade teams was positive and significant for reading by the second year after the transfer.
  • In comparison to reducing class size (a policy designed to achieve similar impacts), the cost of producing these gains through TTI were estimated to be $7,000 cheaper for each team than it would have been to reduce class size by adding enough teachers to produce a similar effect. In elementary schools, TTI was $13,000 cheaper than the class-size reduction benchmark.

Many education policy experts have raised concerns that disadvantaged students, who are often concentrated in low-performing schools, do not have the same access to highly effective teachers as other students. To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) sponsored an evaluation conducted by Mathematica Policy Research of an intervention known to study participants as the Talent Transfer Initiative (TTI).


Access to Effective Teaching for Low-Income Students


U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Time Frame


Senior Staff

Jeffrey Max
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