IU Bloomington seminar to explore performance pay for teachers

Will teachers do a better job of teaching if they’re paid according to their performance? University of Maryland faculty member Jennifer King Rice will discuss the question this Thursday at IU Bloomington.

Rice, an associate professor in Maryland’s Department of Education Policy and Leadership, has published widely on the effectiveness of education systems. Her IU talk, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Oak Room of the Indiana Memorial Union, is part of the Economics of Education Seminar Series.

Jennifer King Rice

Jennifer King Rice

Historically, teacher pay in the U.S. has been based on years of experience and the attainment of advanced degrees. But recent initiatives have put a new focus on teacher effectiveness, and the federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) program has prompted states, including Indiana, to develop systems for paying teachers based on student test scores and other performance measures.

The theory is that tying pay to performance will prompt teachers to get better or get out – and that students will benefit as a result. But Rice says there’s little research evidence on the implementation or the impact of performance-pay systems.

Her IU talk is titled “Pay-for-Performance from Theory to Practice: Evidence on Payouts and Perceived Effects from one TIF Program.” It will report on a study of one TIF-supported incentive program, looking at how teachers responded and how the approach affected educational outcomes.

Rice’s research draws on the discipline of economics to explore education policy. She is working on several projects that investigate policies and resources for hiring and retaining effective teachers. She is the author of “Fiscal Policy in Urban Education” and numerous journal articles and book chapters.

The Economics of Education Seminar Series is sponsored by the policy analysis and public finance faculty groups in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the School of Education and the Education Policy Student Association. It is supported by the Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs.