The Impact of Performance Ratings on Job Satisfaction for Public School Teachers
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Spurred by the federal Race to the Top competition, the state of Tennessee implemented a comprehensive statewide educator evaluation system in 2011. The new system is designed to increase the rigor of evaluations and better differentiate teachers based on performance. The use of more differentiated ratings represents a significant shift in education policy. We merge teacher performance evaluations from the new system with data from post-evaluation teacher surveys to examine the effects of the differentiated ratings on job satisfaction for teachers. Using a regression-discontinuity design, we show that higher ratings under the new system causally improve teachers’ perceptions of work relative to lower ratings. Our findings offer the first causal evidence of which we are aware on the relationship between performance ratings and job satisfaction for individual teachers.