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Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System

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  • David N. Figlio
  • Lawrence S. Getzler

Abstract

The past several years have been marked by a general trend towards increased high-stakes testing for students and schools and test-based school accountability systems. There are many potential school responses to testing programs. This paper investigates the potential that schools respond by gaming the system through reshaping the test pool. Using student-level panel data from six large counties in Florida, we study whether the introduction of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in 1996 led schools to reclassify students as disabled and therefore ineligible to contribute to the school's aggregate test scores. Employing student-level fixed effect models and a series of secular trends as controls, we find that schools tend to reclassify low income and previously low performing students as disabled at significantly higher rates following the introduction of the testing regime. Moreover, these behaviors are concentrated among the low income schools most likely to be on the margin of failing the state's accountability system.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9307.

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Date of creation: Nov 2002
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Publication status: published as Gronberg, T. (ed.) Advances in Microeconomics. Elsevier, 2006.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9307

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  1. Figlio, David N., 2006. "Testing, crime and punishment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 837-851, May.
  2. Julie Berry Cullen, 1999. "The Impact of Fiscal Incentives on Student Disability Rates," NBER Working Papers 7173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David N. Figlio & Joshua Winicki, 2002. "Food for Thought: The Effects of School Accountability Plans on School Nutrition," NBER Working Papers 9319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Randall Reback & Julie Berry Cullen, 2006. "Tinkering toward accolades: School gaming under a performance accountability system," Working Papers, Barnard College, Department of Economics 0601, Barnard College, Department of Economics.
  5. David N. Figlio & Maurice E. Lucas, 2000. "What's in a Grade? School Report Cards and House Prices," NBER Working Papers 8019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
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