Is IMPACT having an impact?

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Yes, says a new study released today. Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT, by James Wyckoff and Thomas Dee found that the IMPACT evaluation system implemented by Michelle Rhee during her tenure as DCPS Chancellor is indeed raising the performance of teachers.

The study finds that the comprehensive evaluation system has been key in producing substantial improvements in teacher performance, identifying the most effective teachers and retaining them at high rates. Evidence also shows that rates of attrition for the least effective teachers have increased, many leaving of their own accord, and are being replaced by more effective educators. For those teachers on the cusp of "effective" or "highly effective", the systems seems to have provided the push they need either through quality feedback, related professional development or pure monetary incentive to move them into a higher level of performance.

% of Teachers Retained, 2010-11 and 2011-12

With the IMPACT evaluation system, DCPS has been a pioneer in showing they take teacher effectiveness seriously. And while the study's findings are encouraging, we look forward to seeing how the change in the evaluation system has an impact on student achievement. As other states and districts look to IMPACT for guidance, we hope they see the possibility of a system that both supports teachers and holds them accountable.