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Measurement Matters: Perspectives on Education Policy from an Economist and School Board Member

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  • Kevin Lang

Abstract

From the perspective of someone who is both an economist and a former school board member, this paper assesses the use of test-score data by policy-makers and academic researchers. The absence of interval scales often makes the interpretation of test-scores and the indicators derived from them highly problematic. Economists have both been deficient in alerting policy-makers to the inherent difficulties in using such data and cavalier in their own treatment of them. Test score data often merely confirm what administrators already know. Nevertheless they can be useful if used as a trigger for further investigation, and, in particular, as a lever for encouraging principals and other administrators to act on information about teacher (or school) quality.

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File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.143.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 143.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:143

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Related research

Keywords: NCLB; No Child Left Behind; value-added-measurement in education; accountability; high-stakes testing;

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References

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  1. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 226-244, February.
  2. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Kevin Lang, 2007. "Introduction to Poverty and Discrimination
    [Poverty and Discrimination]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  5. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2008. "Can Principals Identify Effective Teachers? Evidence on Subjective Performance Evaluation in Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26, pages 101-136.
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Cited by:
  1. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Douglas O. Staiger, 2012. "Knowledge, Tests, and Fadeout in Educational Interventions," NBER Working Papers 18038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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