Incentive-Based Teacher Compensation

This study aims to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the Denver Public Schools’ Professional Compensation System for Teachers (DPS ProComp) and how this system impacts students, teachers, and schools.

Denver's ProComp system is a unique alternative teacher compensation system that was developed through a partnership between DPS teachers and the district. Evaluation of this reform is valuable to those implementing the system in Denver, as well as to other districts across the nation that are struggling to improve teacher quality and student learning.

There are at least three interrelated mechanisms through which the ProComp system might have a positive impact on student achievement:

  1. Direct incentives or “motivation effects” - that is, do teachers work harder as a consequence of having new and different incentives under ProComp?

  2. Improved teacher skill, either due to new or added professional development that teachers might obtain under the ProComp system, or because of potential identification effects the system can provide through its data.

  3. Influencing the composition of the district’s workforce through both market incentives and an overall set of rewards that affect who applies (and is selected) to teach in Denver, as well as who opts to leave the system.

For more information and recent findings, see the following publication:

Goldhaber, D. & Walch, J. (2011). Strategic Pay Reform: A Student Outcomes-Based Evaluation of Denver's ProComp Teacher Pay Initiative. CEDR Working Paper 2011-3. University of Washington, Seattle, WA.pdf