TAP in Indiana Sees First-Year Success
A new study by Interactive, Inc., found that during its first year in 44 Indiana schools, TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement has increased student achievement and earned widespread support from teachers and principals. The TAP system in Indiana is administered by UIndy's Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.
TAP is an option many districts are exploring in response to the new state law requiring every Indiana school to adopt a system of evaluation and performance-based compensation for teachers.
The Indiana Department of Education received $48 million in federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant funding for a five-year TAP initiative and selected UIndy's CELL to administer and support the teacher effectiveness system. CELL guides a statewide network of coordinators who help schools implement TAP.
Commissioned by the state, the Interactive, Inc., study compared TAP schools to other similar schools during the 2011-2012 school year. Selected findings are:
- On ISTEP+, the TAP schools outperformed the control schools in 15 of 21 possible score combinations, a trend that held true across socioeconomic categories and for nearly every ethnicity. In the elementary grades, ISTEP+ pass rates were 3 percentage points higher in language, math and combined scores.
- Seventy-nine percent of career teachers agreed that "TAP has improved the instructional practices of teachers at this school," and approximately two-thirds agreed that "Student performance has improved since TAP was implemented at this school."
- Eighty-eight percent of administrators said they would prefer to work at TAP schools.
"We're impressed to see such consistent results after just one year of implementation," said David Dresslar, executive director of CELL. "It will be very interesting to follow this trend as the program continues."
TAP was developed by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching and has proven successful in several other states. It includes elements seen as significant changes to how schools have traditionally operated, such as a rigorous teacher evaluation process and the awarding of additional compensation to educators based on new roles and responsibilities as well as classroom observations and student achievement growth measures.
"This is great news," said Dr. Gary Stark, president and CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching. "We are pleased that Indiana schools are already making notable progress with TAP, and look forward to working with CELL and the Indiana Department of Education to build on these achievements."
The TAP system requires that at least 70 percent of teachers vote to approve TAP before it can be implemented in a school. It also includes features intended to develop and retain talented teachers in high-need schools, including ongoing professional development and opportunities for career advancement as "mentor" or "master" teachers, who receive higher salaries to lead their schools' professional development efforts.
The 44 Indiana TAP schools include charter and traditional public schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels in Indianapolis, Hammond, Goshen, Evansville, Marion and other communities. All participating schools had more than 50 percent of their students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. Two additional schools started TAP implementation in the 2012-13 school year, bringing the total to 46.
Interactive, Inc., will use the first-year results as a baseline for continued study of TAP's effectiveness throughout the life of the five-year Teacher Incentive Fund grant.