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Evaluating the provision of school performance information for school choice

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  • Rebecca Allen
  • Simon Burgess

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Abstract

One of the key components of any school choice system is the information given to parents as the basis for choice. We develop and implement a framework for determining the optimal performance metrics to help parents choose a school. This approach combines the three major critiques of the usefulness of performance tables into a natural, implementable metric. The best content for school performance tables is the statistic that best answers the question: “In which feasible choice school will a particular child achieve the highest exam score?” We implement this approach for 500,000 students in England for a range of performance measures. Using performance tables is strongly better than choosing at random: a child who attends the highest ex ante performing school within their choice set will ex post do better than the average outcome in their choice set twice as often as they will do worse.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 10/241.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:10/241

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Keywords: school choice; performance tables;

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  1. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  2. Rebecca Allen & Simon Burgess, 2011. "Can School League Tables Help Parents Choose Schools?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 32(2), pages 245-261, 06.
  3. 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.
  4. Simon Burgess & Ellen Greaves & Anna Vignoles & Deborah Wilson, 2009. "Parental choice of primary school in England: what ‘type’ of school do parents choose?," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/224, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  5. Andy Wiggins, 2002. "Dysfunctional Effects of League Tables: A Comparison Between English and Scottish Primary Schools," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 22(1), pages 43-48, 01.
  6. Koning, Pierre & van der Wiel, Karen, 2010. "Ranking the Schools: How Quality Information Affects School Choice in the Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 4984, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Simon Burgess & Adam Briggs & Brendon McConnell & Helen Slater, 2006. "School Choice in England: Background Facts," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 06/159, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  8. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2008. "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1373-1414, November.
  9. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, 03.
  10. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Do Students Benefit from Attending Better Schools? Evidence from Rule-based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1399-1429, December.
  11. 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.
  12. George Leckie & Harvey Goldstein, 2009. "The Limitations of Using School League Tables to Inform School Choice," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/208, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  13. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
  14. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 7888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2003. "The Use and Usefulness of Performance Measures in the Public Sector," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/073, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  17. Rebecca Allen & Simon Burgess & Tomas Key, 2010. "Choosing secondary school by moving house: school quality and the formation of neighbourhoods," DoQSS Working Papers 10-21, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  18. Julie Berry Cullen & Randall Reback, 2006. "Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System," NBER Working Papers 12286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Bruce Sacerdote, 2012. "When the Saints Go Marching Out: Long-Term Outcomes for Student Evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 109-35, January.
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