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How should we treat under-performing schools? A regression discontinuity analysis of school inspections in England Abstract: School inspections are an important part of the accountability framework for education in England. In this paper we use a panel of schools to evaluate the effect of a school failing its inspection. We collect a decade’s worth of data on how schools are judged across a very large range of sub-criteria, alongside an overall judgement of effectiveness. We use this data within a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to model the impact of ‘just’ failing the inspection, relative to the impact of ‘just’ passing. This analysis is implemented using a time-series of school performance and pupil background data. Our results suggest that schools only just failing do see an improvement in scores over the following two to three years. The effect size is moderate to large at around 10% of a pupil-level standard deviation in test scores. We also show that this improvement occurs in core compulsory subjects, suggesting that this is not all the result of course entry gaming on the part of schools. There is little positive impact on lower ability pupils, with equally large effects for those in the middle and top end of the ability distribution.Length: 43 pages

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  • Rebecca Allen
  • Simon Burgess

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 12/287.

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Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:12/287

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Keywords: School inspection; school accountability; school attainment; regression discontinuity Creation-Date: 2012-03;

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  1. 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.
  2. repec:taf:jnlbes:v:30:y:2012:i:1:p:149-163 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1082-1095, October.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  5. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  6. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2005. "Vouchers, Public School Response and the Role of Incentives: Evidence from Florida," Public Economics 0512002, EconWPA.
  7. Thomas S. Dee & Brian Jacob, 2011. "The impact of no Child Left Behind on student achievement," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(3), pages 418-446, 06.
  8. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1082-1095.
  9. Dolton, Peter & O'Neill, Donal, 1996. "Unemployment Duration and the Restart Effect: Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 387-400, March.
  10. Simon Burgess & Deborah Wilson & Jack Worth, 2010. "A natural experiment in school accountability: the impact of school performance information on pupil progress and sorting," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/246, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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