Findings from an evaluation of a $575 million programme to improve teacher performance found that, while sites implemented new measures of teaching effectiveness and modified personnel policies accordingly, the programme had no impact on pupil outcomes.
The Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching initiative, designed and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed to dramatically improve pupil outcomes by improving pupils’ access to effective teaching. Three US school districts and four charter management organisations participated in the programme, which ran between 2009 and 2016.
The final evaluation report, published by the RAND Corporation, found that by the end of 2014-15, outcomes for pupils in the settings that took part in the initiative were not better than outcomes for pupils in similar settings that did not take part. There was no evidence that low-income minority (LIM) pupils had greater access than non-LIM pupils to effective teaching. In addition, it found very few instances of improvement in the effectiveness of teaching overall, and no improvement in the effectiveness of newly hired teachers compared to experienced teachers. The evaluation also found no increase in the retention of effective teachers, although there was some decline in the retention of ineffective teachers in most settings that took part in the initiative.
The report states several possible reasons that the initiative failed to achieve its goals for improving pupil outcome:
- incomplete implementation of the key policies and practices
- the influence of external factors, such as state-level policy changes during the initiative
- insufficient time for effects to appear
- a flawed theory of action
- a combination of all these factors.
Source: Improving teaching effectiveness: Final report: The Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching through 2015–2016 (2018), RAND Corporation.