ProComp was developed by Denver Public Schools in collaboration with Denver’s teachers union (DCTA), and funded through a citywide vote for its piloted four years. It includes multiple pay incentives for teachers at both the school and individual levels.
The study finds that overall student outcomes are up across grades and subjects, and that teacher recruitment and retention has also increased. However, these positive outcomes can’t be tied directly to ProComp and can’t see exactly what effect the system has had at all.
Though, Silva writes, that’s not to say ProComp hasn’t had any effect.
“By the 2009-10 school year, nearly three-quarters of teachers are ProComp participants—that shows wide-scale acceptance and, along with reports that the system is much better aligned with the mission and goals of the district, suggests sustainability.”
Teachers report more collaboration, not more competition as was expected by some when ProComp began. System leaders say ProComp led to changes in the district’s HR policies and procedures and paved the way for Denver’s achievement growth model and new evaluation system.
The report is one of the most extensive studies of alternative compensation systems you’ll find so well worth reading. Similar studies include Chicago’s TAP system and other studies at the National Center on Performance Incentives.