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Tinkering toward accolades: School gaming under a performance accountability system

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  • Randall Reback

    ()
    (Barnard College, Columbia University)

  • Julie Berry Cullen

    ()
    (UC-San Diego and NBER)

Abstract

We explore the extent to which schools manipulate the composition of students in the test-taking pool in order to maximize ratings under Texas' accountability system in the 1990s. We first derive predictions from a static model of administrators' incentives given the structure of the ratings criteria, and then test these predictions by comparing differential changes in exemption rates across student subgroups within campuses and across campuses and regimes. Our analyses uncover evidence of a moderate degree of strategic behavior, so that there is some tension between designing systems that account for heterogeneity in student populations and that are manipulation-free.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barnard College, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0601.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:brn:wpaper:0601

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Keywords: school accountability; performance standard; caseload manipulation;

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References

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  1. Cullen, Julie Berry, 2003. "The impact of fiscal incentives on student disability rates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1557-1589, August.
  2. Figlio, David N., 2006. "Testing, crime and punishment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 837-851, May.
  3. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation Of The Prevalence And Predictors Of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877, August.
  4. Heckman, James J. & Heinrich, Carolyn J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2002. "The Performance of Performance Standards," IZA Discussion Papers 525, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith & Christopher Taber, 1996. "What Do Bureaucrats Do? The Effects of Performance Standards and Bureaucratic Preferences on Acceptance into the JTPA Program," NBER Working Papers 5535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kathryn Anderson & Richard V. Burkhauser & Jennie E. Raymond, 1993. "The effect of creaming on placement rates under the Job Training Partnership Act," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 613-624, July.
  7. Ladd, Helen F., 2001. "School-Based Educational Accountability Systems: The Promise and the Pitfalls," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 2), pages 385-400, June.
  8. 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.
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