In 2007, the Chicago Public School system (CPS) piloted a reform model called the Teacher Advancement Program, or TAP. This model received both federal and private funding, and was designed to attract and retain high-quality educators by rewarding them for excellent performance and providing them with a supportive workplace. “Under the TAP model, teachers can earn extra pay and take on increased responsibilities through promotion (to mentor teacher or master teacher), and they become eligible for annual performance bonuses based on a combination of their contribution to student achievement…and observed performance.”[i]

A 2012 report by Mathematica researchers Steven Glazerman and Allison Seifullah took a look at this new program to see how it has impacted schools so far. At the time of the study the program hadn’t been fully implemented yet, but it has already produced some exciting results.

Teachers in Chicago’s TAP schools were roughly 20 percent more likely to still be teaching in those schools three years later than teachers in comparison schools. This means that students in schools that implemented the TAP model had more consistent teacher presence.

“Implementation of Chicago TAP increased the amount of mentoring, promotion opportunity, and compensation relative to non-TAP schools, and these increases alone may have translated into making Chicago TAP schools a more desirable place to continue working.” – Glazerman and Seifullah

The Chicago TAP model shows definite promise. We’ll be sure to check back in with the program, because a 20 percent improvement in teacher retention is worth paying attention to.   

[i] Glazerman, Steven and Seifullah, Allison. (2012). An Evaluation of the Chicago Teacher Advancement Program (Chicago TAP) After Four Years. Mathematica. Available at