IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v16y2002i4p91-114.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas J. Kane
  • Douglas O. Staiger

Abstract

In recent years, most states have constructed elaborate accountability systems using school-level test scores. However, because the median elementary school contains only 69 children per grade level, such measures are quite imprecise. We evaluate the implications for school accountability systems. For instance, rewards or sanctions for schools with scores at either extreme primarily affect small schools and provide weak incentives to large ones. Nevertheless, we conclude that accountability systems may be worthwhile. Even in states with aggressive financial incentives, the marginal reward to schools for raising student performance is a small fraction of the potential labor market value for students.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:4:p:91-114
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533002320950993
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533002320950993
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
    2. Alan B. Krueger, 2003. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 34-63, February.
    3. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
    4. Robert Gibbons, 1998. "Incentives in Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 115-132, Fall.
    5. Daniel M. Koretz, 2002. "Limitations in the Use of Achievement Tests as Measures of Educators' Productivity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 752-777.
    6. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    7. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-266, May.
    8. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
    9. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
    10. James R. Tybout, 2001. "Plant- and Firm-Level Evidence on "New" Trade Theories," NBER Working Papers 8418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2001. "Improving School Accountability Measures," NBER Working Papers 8156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Lavy, Victor, 2003. "Paying for Performance: The Effect of Teachers' Financial Incentives on Students' Scholastic Outcomes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3862, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2011. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 39-77.
    2. Christian Jaag, 2005. "Hidden Teacher Effort in Educational Production: Monitoring vs. Merit Pay," HEW 0503003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
    4. Eric A. Hanushek & Victor Lavy & Kohtaro Hitomi, 2008. "Do Students Care about School Quality? Determinants of Dropout Behavior in Developing Countries," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 69-105.
    5. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 679-741, Elsevier.
    6. Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Simulating the Lisbon skills targets in WorldScan," CPB Memorandum 135, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    7. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/071, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, UK.
    8. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "The Effects of School Quality and Family Functioning on Youth Math Scores: a Canadian Longitudinal Analysis," Cahiers de recherche 0822, CIRPEE.
    9. Figlio, David & Holden, Kristian L. & Ozek, Umut, 2018. "Do students benefit from longer school days? Regression discontinuity evidence from Florida's additional hour of literacy instruction," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 171-183.
    10. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
    11. Gadi Barlevy & Derek Neal, 2012. "Pay for Percentile," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1805-1831, August.
    12. Justman, Moshe, 2018. "Randomized controlled trials informing public policy: Lessons from project STAR and class size reduction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 167-174.
    13. Moshe Justman, 2016. "Economic Research and Education Policy: Project STAR and Class Size Reduction," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n37, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    14. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2017. "Teacher performance pay: Experimental evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 75-91.
    15. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Shapiro, Joseph, 2006. "Evaluating the impact of Mexico's quality schools program : the pitfalls of using nonexperimental data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4036, The World Bank.
    16. Emiliana Vegas & Ilana Umansky, 2005. "Improving Teaching and Learning through Effective Incentives : What Can We Learn from Education Reforms in Latin America?," World Bank Publications - Reports 8694, The World Bank Group.
    17. Jaag, Christian, 2006. "Teacher Incentives," MPRA Paper 340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2002. "Improving educational quality: how best to evaluate our schools," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 47(Jun), pages 193-247.
    19. Derek Neal, 2002. "How Vouchers Could Change the Market for Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 25-44, Fall.
    20. Jonah Rockoff, 2003. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," Public Economics 0304002, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:4:p:91-114. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.