Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pittsburgh Principal Incentive Program Working Well

In 2007, the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to implement reforms designed to improve school leadership in the district.

A major component of these reforms was the Pittsburgh Principal Incentive Program (PPIP). PPIP provided principals with support, such as professional development focused on leadership, feedback and coaching from their supervisors, and directed professional growth projects focusing on a topic of the principal's choice.

The program also provided two types of monetary compensation: (1) an annual opportunity for a permanent salary increase of up to $2,000 based primarily on a rubric measuring practices in several areas and (2) an annual bonus of up to $10,000 based primarily on student achievement growth. The bonuses included premiums for growth by previously low-performing students and at schools with high concentrations of disadvantaged students, which were intended to reduce the achievement gap between disadvantaged and other students.
RAND researchers evaluated the implementation and outcomes of PPIP from 2007–2008 through 2010–2011. They used surveys, conducted focus groups, interviewed key district and school staff, reviewed program documentation, and analyzed administrative data from PPS.

Here are the key findings from Rand’s report, Improving School Leadership Through Support, Evaluation, and Incentives: The Pittsburgh Principal Incentive Program:

• Most principals reported that PPIP contributed to their professional growth.
• Principals reported improving their leadership practices during the program.
• Principals' scores on performance measures remained steady over time, with most scores at the higher end of the scale.
• Student achievement increased during the program.
• But because Pittsburgh was implementing multiple, well-integrated reforms at the same time, it is impossible to attribute any changes directly to PPIP.