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How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement

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  • Chiang, Hanley
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    Abstract

    Although an emerging body of evidence has shown that the threat of sanctions on low-performing schools can raise student test scores in the short run, the extent to which these test score improvements are due to schools' manipulation of the accountability system has remained uncertain. In this paper, I provide two new strands of evidence to evaluate the relative importance of educational reforms and gaming behavior in generating test score gains by threatened schools. First, using a regression discontinuity design that exploits Florida's system of imposing sanction threats on the basis of a cutoff level of performance, I estimate medium-run effects on student test scores from having attended a threatened elementary school. Threat-induced math improvements from elementary school largely persist at least through the first 1 to 2Â years of middle school, while evidence for persistence of reading improvements is less consistent. Second, I analyze the effects of sanction threats on various features of educational production, and I find that sanction threats raise school spending on instructional technology, curricular development, and teacher training. Both strands of evidence are consistent with a predominant role for educational reforms in generating test score gains by threatened schools.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

    Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 9-10 (October)
    Pages: 1045-1057

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:9-10:p:1045-1057

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

    Related research

    Keywords: School accountability Sanction threats Low-performing schools School expenditures;

    References

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    1. Doug Miller & Jens Ludwig, 2005. "Does Head Start Improve Children’s Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," Working Papers 534, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    2. Chakrabarti Rajashri, 2013. "Impact of Voucher Design on Public School Performance: Evidence from Florida and Milwaukee Voucher Programs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 349-394, July.
    3. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2003. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions that Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," NBER Working Papers 10118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Brian A. Jacob, 2007. "Test-Based Accountability and Student Achievement: An Investigation of Differential Performance on NAEP and State Assessments," NBER Working Papers 12817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    6. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2005. "Vouchers, Public School Response and the Role of Incentives: Evidence from Florida," Public Economics 0512002, EconWPA.
    8. Reback, Randall, 2008. "Teaching to the rating: School accountability and the distribution of student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1394-1415, June.
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    12. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
    13. Figlio, David N., 2006. "Testing, crime and punishment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 837-851, May.
    14. Angrist, Joshua D & Lavy, Victor, 2001. "Does Teacher Training Affect Pupil Learning? Evidence from Matched Comparisons in Jerusalem Public Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 343-69, April.
    15. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," NBER Working Papers 9413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
    17. Randall Reback & Julie Berry Cullen, 2006. "Tinkering toward accolades: School gaming under a performance accountability system," Working Papers 0601, Barnard College, Department of Economics.
    18. Colleen Donovan & David N. Figlio & Mark Rush, 2006. "Cramming: The Effects of School Accountability on College-Bound Students," NBER Working Papers 12628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Ladd, Helen F., 1999. "The Dallas school accountability and incentive program: an evaluation of its impacts on student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-16, February.
    20. Jacob, Brian A., 2005. "Accountability, incentives and behavior: the impact of high-stakes testing in the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 761-796, June.
    21. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2005. "Does school accountability lead to improved student performance?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 297-327.
    22. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "The Impact of Teacher Training on Student Achievement: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from School Reform Efforts in Chicago," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    23. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
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    Cited by:
    1. Craig, Steven G. & Imberman, Scott A. & Perdue, Adam, 2013. "Does it pay to get an A? School resource allocations in response to accountability ratings," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-42.
    2. Jonah E. Rockoff & Lesley J. Turner, 2008. "Short Run Impacts of Accountability on School Quality," NBER Working Papers 14564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2011. "Incentives and responses under No Child Left Behind: credible threats and the role of competition," Staff Reports 525, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    4. Koning, Pierre & van der Wiel, Karen, 2010. "School Responsiveness to Quality Rankings: An Empirical Analysis of Secondary Education in the Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 4969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Sims, David P., 2013. "Can failure succeed? Using racial subgroup rules to analyze the effect of school accountability failure on student performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 262-274.
    6. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Noah Schwartz, 2013. "Unintended consequences of school accountability policies: evidence from Florida and implications for New York," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 19-44.
    7. Friesen, Jane & Harris, Benjamin Cerf & Woodcock, Simon, 2013. "Open Enrolment and Student Achievement," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-46, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Mar 2014.
    8. Filer, Randall K. & Münich, Daniel, 2013. "Responses of private and public schools to voucher funding," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 269-285.
    9. Bol, Thijs & Witschge, Jacqueline & Van de Werfhorst, Herman & Dronkers, Jaap, 2013. "Curricula tracking and central examinations: counterbalancing the Impact of social background on student achievement in 36 countries," MPRA Paper 44675, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Ana Balcao Reis & Carmo Seabra & Luis C. Nunes, 2012. "Ranking schools: a step toward increased accountability or a mere discriminatory practice?," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp567, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    11. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," NBER Working Papers 14723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ferreyra, Maria Marta & Liang, Pierre Jinghong, 2012. "Information asymmetry and equilibrium monitoring in education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 237-254.
    13. Gershberg, Alec Ian & González, Pablo Alberto & Meade, Ben, 2012. "Understanding and Improving Accountability in Education: A Conceptual Framework and Guideposts from Three Decentralization Reform Experiences in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 1024-1041.
    14. David J. Deming & Sarah Cohodes & Jennifer Jennings & Christopher Jencks, 2013. "School Accountability, Postsecondary Attainment and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 19444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Hemelt, Steven W., 2011. "Performance effects of failure to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Evidence from a regression discontinuity framework," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 702-723, August.

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