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Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating

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  • Levitt, Steven D.
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    Abstract

    We develop an algorithm for detecting teacher cheating that combines information on unexpected test score fluctuations and suspicious patterns of answers for students in a classroom. Using data from the Chicago Public Schools, we estimate that serious cases of teacher or administrator cheating on standardized tests occur in a minimum of 4-5 percent of elementary school classrooms annually. Moreover, the observed frequency of cheating appears to respond strongly to relatively minor changes in incentives. Our results highlight the fact that incentive systems, especially those with bright line rules, often induce behavioral distortions such as cheating. Statistical analysis, however, may provide a means of detecting illicit acts, despite the best attempts of perpetrators to keep them clandestine.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics in its series Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt2wj7v1j4.

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    Date of creation: 01 Dec 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:oplwec:qt2wj7v1j4

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2002. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "The Impact of Teacher Training on Student Achievement: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from School Reform Efforts in Chicago," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    3. Richards, Craig E. & Sheu, Tian Ming, 1992. "The South Carolina school incentive reward program: A policy analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 71-86, March.
    4. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    5. Ladd, Helen F., 1999. "The Dallas school accountability and incentive program: an evaluation of its impacts on student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-16, February.
    6. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1992. "Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions," NBER Working Papers 4013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Paul Glewwe & Nauman Ilias & Michael Kremer, 2010. "Teacher Incentives," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 205-27, July.
    2. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2004. "Incentives to learn," Natural Field Experiments 00289, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Kremer, Michael Robert & Miguel, Edward A. & Thorton, Rebecca L, 2004. "Incentives to Learn," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt9kc4p47q, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    4. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2003. "Making Government Accountable: Lessons from a Federal Job Training Program," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/083, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    5. Gaviria Alejandro & Alejandro Hoyos, 2008. "Determinantes de los resultados de las evaluaciones de profesores: el caso de la Universidad de los Andes," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    6. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2004. "A General Test of Gaming," Economics Working Papers ECO2004/33, European University Institute.
    7. Stoddard, Christiana & Kuhn, Peter J., 2004. "Incentives and Effort in the Public Sector: Have U.S. Education Reforms Increased Teachers’ Work Hours?," IZA Discussion Papers 1412, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Elizabeth Webster & Mark Wooden & Gary Marks, 2004. "Reforming the Labour Market for Australian Teachers," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n28, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    9. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "The Impact of Teacher Training on Student Achievement: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from School Reform Efforts in Chicago," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    10. Richard B. Freeman, 2006. "Optimal Inequality/Optimal Incentives: Evidence from a Tournament," NBER Working Papers 12588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Accountability, Incentives and Behavior: The Impact of High-Stakes Testing in the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 8968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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