Outcomes Based Contracting

The Southern Education Foundation is conducting a pilot project with four school districts to implement Outcomes Based Contracting (OBC) for math tutoring. Outcomes based contracting requires that a significant portion of contractor payment be contingent upon student growth. Those districts are Boston Public Schools (MA), Denver Public Schools (CO), Duval County Public Schools (FL), and Fulton County Schools (GA).

OBC’s objectives are to dramatically improve student outcomes and to reshape the relationship between school districts and vendors. Outcomes based contracting directly links expenditure of school district resources to improving student outcomes. This work addresses pervasive equity gaps, and supports collaborative partnerships between districts and vendors that will better meet student needs and achieve better results.

The pilot grows out of planning and development led by the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University.

Through this project, SEF aims to provide more than 4,000 students with access to high-quality math tutoring to improve their math proficiency. We are particularly focused on students from low-income families, Black students, and other students of color.

Research confirms that math preparedness and success, particularly in Algebra, is a gateway to more advanced course-taking and increases the likelihood of high school graduation. While many school districts use tutoring to help support student achievement in math, those programs do not always improve outcomes for students. Supporting achievement in mathematics for Black students, other students of color, and students from low-income families can help advance educational equity and their chances of success later in life.

The school districts participating in the OBC pilot will receive project management assistance, technical assistance, information resources, a community of practice, capacity building grants of $90,000-$125,000 per district, and support in evaluating or developing measures of student growth.

As part of this project, SEF will produce tools and resources to help the broader education community learn about and successfully adopt OBC. We will develop case studies and other publications that describe the experiences and lessons learned in pilot districts to support innovation in procurement for K-12 school districts, and develop briefs and other materials that examine key policy implications and identify state procurement policies and regulations that inhibit and incentivize OBC.

For more information about SEF’s Outcomes Based Contracting initiative, please contact Project Director Sarah Glover at sglover@southerneducation.org.