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Limitations in the Use of Achievement Tests as Measures of Educators' Productivity

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  • Daniel M. Koretz
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    Abstract

    Test-based accountability rests on the assumption that accountability for scores on tests will provide needed incentives for teachers to improve student performance. Evidence shows, however, that simple test-based accountability can generate perverse incentives and seriously inflated scores. This paper discusses the logic of achievement tests, issues that arise in using them as proxy indicators of educational quality, and the mechanism underlying the inflation of scores. It ends with suggestions, some speculative, for improving the incentives faced by teachers by modifying systems of student assessment and combining them with numerous other measures, many of which are more subjective than are test scores.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 752-777

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:37:y:2002:i:4:p:752-777

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    Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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    Cited by:
    1. Marc Piopiunik & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Central School Exit Exams and Labor-Market Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 3940, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Maria Marta Ferreyra, 2009. "An Empirical Framework for Large-Scale Policy Analysis, with an Application to School Finance Reform in Michigan," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 147-80, February.
    3. Theodore M. Crone, 2004. "What test scores can and cannot tell us about the quality of our schools," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q3, pages 5-21.
    4. Derek Neal & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Left Behind By Design: Proficiency Counts and Test-Based Accountability," NBER Working Papers 13293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Emiliana Vegas & Ilana Umansky, 2005. "Improving Teaching and Learning through Effective Incentives : What Can We Learn from Education Reforms in Latin America?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8694, The World Bank.
    6. Eduardo Andrade & Luciano De Castro, 2010. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1533, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    7. Mitnik, Oscar A., 2009. "How Do Training Programs Assign Participants to Training? Characterizing the Assignment Rules of Government Agencies for Welfare-to-Work Programs in California," IZA Discussion Papers 4024, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. 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.
    9. Christian Jaag, 2005. "Hidden Teacher Effort in Educational Production: Monitoring vs. Merit Pay," HEW 0503003, EconWPA.
    10. Christopher C. Klein, 2007. "Efficiency versus Effectiveness: Interpreting Education Production Studies," Working Papers 200703, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
    11. Jaag, Christian, 2006. "Teacher Incentives," MPRA Paper 340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. 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.
    13. Kuhn, Michael & Siciliani, Luigi, 2007. "Performance Indicators for Quality with Adverse Selection, Gaming and Inequality Aversion," CEPR Discussion Papers 6261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. World Bank, 2005. "Central America : Education Strategy Paper," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8397, The World Bank.
    15. Derek Neal, 2002. "How Vouchers Could Change the Market for Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 25-44, Fall.
    16. Dang, Hai-Anh H. & King, Elizabeth M., 2013. "Incentives and teacher effort: further evidence from a developing country," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6694, The World Bank.

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