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School Accountability

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  • Figlio, David
  • Loeb, Susanna

Abstract

School accountability--the process of evaluating school performance on the basis of student performance measures--is increasingly prevalent around the world. In the United States, accountability has become a centerpiece of both Democratic and Republican federal administrations' education policies. This chapter reviews the theory of school-based accountability, describes variations across programs, and identifies key features influencing the effectiveness and possible unintended consequences of accountability policies. The chapter then summarizes the research literature on the effects of test-based accountability on students and teachers, concluding that the preponderance of evidence suggests positive effects of the accountability movement in the United States during the 1990s and early 2000s on student achievement, especially in math. The effects on teachers and on students' long-run outcomes are more difficult to judge. It is also clear that school personnel respond to accountability in both positive and negative ways, and that accountability systems run the risk of being counter-productive if not carefully thought out and monitored.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), 2011. "Handbook of the Economics of Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3, June.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of the Economics of Education with number 3-08.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:educhp:3-08

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevierdirect.com/product.jsp?isbn=9780444513991

    Related research

    Keywords: Accountability; Achievement; Education; NCLB;

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    Cited by:
    1. Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Woessmann, Ludger, 2013. "Central school exit exams and labor-market outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 93-108.
    2. Derek Neal, 2011. "The Design of Performance Pay in Education," NBER Working Papers 16710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Helen F. Ladd & Douglas L. Lauen, 2010. "Status versus growth: The distributional effects of school accountability policies," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 426-450.
    4. Eric A. Hanushek & Susanne Link & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA," CESifo Working Paper Series 3648, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Marco Bertoni & Giorgio Brunello & Lorenzo Rocco, 2013. "When the cat is near, the mice won't play: the effect of external examiners in Italian schools," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48918, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. David N. Figlio & Mark Rush & Lu Yin, 2010. "Is it Live or is it Internet? Experimental Estimates of the Effects of Online Instruction on Student Learning," NBER Working Papers 16089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Peter Temin, 2002. "Teacher Quality and the Future of America," NBER Working Papers 8898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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