Chicago’s Teacher Incentive Program: Final Report

Mathematica Policy Research has released its final report on the Chicago Teacher Advancement Program (TAP), and found that the program did not do exactly as intended.  TAP aimed to improve schools by increasing teacher quality, and provided multiple opportunities for professional development, school leadership positions, structured feedback, and mentoring.

Overall, the program appears to have increased teacher retention.  Teachers in Chicago TAP schools when the program started in fall 2007 were about 20% more likely to still be in those schools three years later—a 20% higher retention rate than at comparison schools.  However, the real goal of the TAP program, that is, boosting student achievement through increased teacher quality, does not appear to have been met.  Over the first four years of the program, “there was no detectable impact on math, reading, or science achievement that was robust to different methods of estimation.”

TAP originally was supposed to include a pay-for-performance component, but this was never fully implemented.  The value-added component was also not implemented because the data needed to reliably link students and teachers was unavailable.  Additional payouts for performance were awarded, but never exceeded $6,400 and were tied to a value-added calculation at the school or grade level, not at the classroom level.

To read the full study, please visit