these features are likely to be critical in determining which—if any—incentive programs are successful.

Recommendation 3: Research about the effects of incentive programs should fully document the structure of each program and should evaluate a broad range of outcomes. To avoid having their results determined by the score inflation that occurs in the high-stakes tests attached to the incentives, researchers should use low-stakes tests that do not mimic the high-stakes tests to evaluate how test-based incentives affect achievement. Other outcomes, such as later performance in education or work and dispositions related to education, are also important to study. To help explain why test-based incentives sometimes produce negative effects on achievement, researchers should collect data on changes in educational practice by the people who are affected by the incentives.



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