Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University; Director, National Center on Performance Incentives

Matthew G. Springer is an assistant professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Professor Springer’s research interests involve educational policy issues, with a particular focus on the impact of policy on resource allocation decisions and student outcomes. His current research includes studies of the impact of performance-based incentives on student achievement and teacher turnover, mobility, and quality; the impact of educator evaluation systems on educator outcomes; and the strategic resource allocation decision-making of schools in response to school accountability programs. Professor Springer previously served as principal investigator for the Project on Incentives in Teaching (POINT) experiment in Metro Nashville Public Schools (TN), the Team Performance Incentives (TPI) experiment in Round Rock (TX), and Director of Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation, and Development.

Much of Professor Springer’s work relies on experimental and quasi-experimental methodologies to evaluate educational interventions and policies, and makes use of large longitudinal databases from school districts, state education agencies, national assessment firms, and federal repositories.  By working closely with practitioners, policymakers, and researchers, his work intends to not only add knowledge in a traditional academic sense, but also to inform educational research, practice, and policy development.  His research has been funded by the United States Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, National Institute of Child Health and Development, Smith Richardson Foundation, Tennessee Department of Education, Fund for New York City Schools, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and Texas Education Agency. He has also served on several advisory committees charged with designing performance-based compensation systems for teachers and/or principals at the state and district level, testified on performance-pay and educator evaluation policies in Florida, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas, and conducted analyses of school finance systems in Alaska, Kentucky, Missouri, and South Carolina.

Professor Springer has published widely in the field of education finance and policy, with articles appearing in such outlets as Economics of Education Review, Education EconomicsEducation Finance and Policy, Education NextEducational Evaluation and Policy AnalysisEducational Researcher, Federal Reserve Banks’ Regional Economic DevelopmentJournal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Journal of Education FinanceJournal of Policy Analysis and Management, National Tax Journal, Peabody Journal of Education, and Statistics, Policy, and Politics. He is co-author of a leading education finance textbook, Modern Education Finance and Policy (with J.W. Guthrie, R.A. Rolle, and E.A. Houck; Pearson Education), and editor or co-editor of five more books including, Performance Incentives: Their Growing Impact on American K-12 Education (Brookings Institution Press), Handbook of Research on School Choice (with M. Berends, D. Ballou, and H.J. Walberg; Taylor & Francis Press), and Charter School Outcomes (with M. Berends and H.J. Walberg; Taylor & Francis Press).

Prior to joining the faculty at Vanderbilt University, Professor Springer was a teacher and administrator at a boarding school in upstate New York. He holds a B.A. in psychology and education with honors from Denison University and a Ph.D. in education finance and policy from Vanderbilt University.

Areas of Research


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