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Subjective Performance Evaluation in the Public Sector: Evidence from School Inspections

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  • Iftikhar Hussain

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of being evaluated under a novel subjective assessment system where independent inspectors visit schools at short notice, disclose their findings, and sanction schools rated fail. I demonstrate that a fail inspection rating leads to test score gains for primary school students. I find no evidence to suggest that fail schools are able to inflate test score performance by gaming the system. Relative to purely test-based accountability systems, this finding is striking and suggests that oversight by evaluators who are charged with investigating what goes on inside the classroom may play an important role in mitigating such strategic behavior. There appear to be no effects on test scores following an inspection for schools rated highly by the inspectors. This suggests that any effects from the process of evaluation and feedback are negligible for nonfailing schools, at least in the short term.

Suggested Citation

  • Iftikhar Hussain, 2015. "Subjective Performance Evaluation in the Public Sector: Evidence from School Inspections," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 189-221.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:50:y:2015:i:1:p:189-221
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    File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/50/1/189
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rebecca Allen & Simon Burgess & Leigh McKenna, 2010. "How should we treat under-performing schools? A regression discontinuity analysis of school inspections in England," DoQSS Working Papers 10-20, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    2. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2013. "Vouchers, Public School Response, And The Role Of Incentives: Evidence From Florida," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 500-526, January.
    3. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2007. "Incentives for Managers and Inequality among Workers: Evidence from a Firm-Level Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 729-773.
    4. Hanley Chiang, "undated". "How Accountability Pressure on Failing Schools Affects Student Achievement," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c58a3b537e324447b94a2bd41, Mathematica Policy Research.
    5. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters And Pilots," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 699-748.
    6. repec:mpr:mprres:6364 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Violaine Faubert, 2009. "School Evaluation: Current Practices in OECD Countries and a Literature Review," OECD Education Working Papers 42, OECD Publishing.
    8. Chiang, Hanley, 2009. "How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1045-1057, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oskari Harjunen & Mika Kortelainen & Tuukka Saarimaa, 2018. "Best Education Money Can Buy? Capitalization of School Quality in Finland," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 64(2), pages 150-175.
    2. Crawfurd, Lee, 2017. "School Management and Public-Private Partnerships in Uganda," MPRA Paper 79923, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Cabrera Hernández, Francisco-Javier, 2016. "Essays on the impact evaluation of education policies in Mexico," Economics PhD Theses 0316, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    4. Francisco Cabrera-Hernandez, 2015. "Does lengthening the school day increase students’ academic achievement? Evidence from a natural experiment," Working Paper Series 7415, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    5. Sam Sims, 2016. "High-Stakes Accountability and Teacher Turnover: how do different school inspection judgements affect teachers' decisions to leave their school?," DoQSS Working Papers 16-14, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    6. repec:eee:deveco:v:131:y:2018:i:c:p:28-41 is not listed on IDEAS

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