Now a new report from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a research division of the Education Department, has poured more cold water on the idea that pursuing better teachers automatically translates to better student performance. The Chicago public-school system implemented a “whole-school” intervention called the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP), which was supposed to raise the quality of its teacher workforce. Teachers were given the opportunity to earn performance pay and promotions through a special system of mentoring and observation. Although the literature on TAP is extensive, IES focused on the most reliable study — an experimental evaluation conducted by Mathematica a few years ago. There are questions about how faithfully TAP was implemented in Chicago, and the control group was small, but here is the study’s bottom line: There were no significant gains in student test scores, regardless of grade level or subject area.
Incidentally, I hate the way that the National Review Corner page loads (or doesn’t). Is there some plug-in I should be using that can refuse to download all the junk that they are trying to send me?