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Who wins and who loses from school accountability? The distribution of educational gain in English secondary schools

Author

Listed:
  • Simon Burgess
  • Carol Propper
  • Helen Slater
  • Deborah Wilson

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Abstract

In 1988 the UK government introduced greater accountability into the English state school sector. But the information that schools are required to make public on their pupil achievement is only partial. The paper examines whether accountability measures based on a partial summary of student achievement influence the distribution of student achievement. Since school ratings only incorporate test results via pass rates, schools have incentives to improve the performance of students who are on the margin of meeting these standards, to the detriment of very low achieving or high achieving pupils. Using pupil level data for a cohort of all students in secondary public sector schools in England, we find that this policy reduces the educational gains and exam performance in high stakes exams of very low ability students.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Helen Slater & Deborah Wilson, 2005. "Who wins and who loses from school accountability? The distribution of educational gain in English secondary schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/128, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:05/128
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    File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp128.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Deborah Wilson, 2004. "Which Ranking? The Impact of a 'Value-Added' Measure of Secondary School Performance," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 24(1), pages 37-45, January.
    2. Julie Berry Cullen & Randall Reback, 2006. "Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System," NBER Working Papers 12286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Glennerster, Howard, 1991. "Quasi-markets for Education?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1268-1276, September.
    4. Andy Wiggins, 2002. "Dysfunctional Effects of League Tables: A Comparison Between English and Scottish Primary Schools," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 22(1), pages 43-48, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Burgess, Simon & Wilson, Deborah & Worth, Jack, 2013. "A natural experiment in school accountability: The impact of school performance information on pupil progress," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 57-67.
    2. List, John A. & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Field Experiments in Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Erwin Ooghe & Erik Schokkaert, 2016. "School accountability: can we reward schools and avoid pupil selection?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(2), pages 359-387, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Justin Ross, 2008. "A theoretical model of the distribution of teacher attention under benchmark testing," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 9(29), pages 1-8.
    6. Silva, Olmo, 2009. "Some Remarks on the Effectiveness of Primary Education Interventions," IZA Policy Papers 5, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Springer, Matthew G., 2008. "The influence of an NCLB accountability plan on the distribution of student test score gains," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 556-563, October.
    8. Burgard, Claudia & Grave, Barbara S., 2013. "Does it Pay Off to Incentivize Universities? – Performance Funding in the German Higher Education System," Ruhr Economic Papers 457, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    9. Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2013. "School Structure, School Autonomy and the Tail," CEP Special Papers 29, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:9:y:2008:i:29:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Richardson, J.T., 2015. "Accountability incentives and academic achievement: Distributional impacts of accountability when standards are set low," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-16.
    12. repec:zbw:rwirep:0457 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Bauer, Thomas K. & Grave, Barbara S., 2011. "Performance-related Funding of Universities: Does More Competition Lead to Grade Inflation?," IZA Discussion Papers 6073, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Deborah Wilson & Anete Piebalga, 2008. "Accurate performance measure but meaningless ranking exercise? An analysis of the English school league tables," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 07/176, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    15. Derek Neal & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Left Behind By Design: Proficiency Counts and Test-Based Accountability," NBER Working Papers 13293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Helen F. Ladd & Douglas L. Lauen, 2010. "Status versus growth: The distributional effects of school accountability policies," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 426-450.
    17. Thomas K. Bauer & Barbara S. Grave, 2011. "Performance-related Funding of Universities – Does more Competition Lead to Grade Inflation?," Ruhr Economic Papers 0288, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    18. Claudia Burgard & Barbara S. Grave, 2013. "Does it Pay Off to Incentivize Universities? – Performance Funding in the German Higher Education System Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of the introduction of performance-related funding in ," Ruhr Economic Papers 0457, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    19. repec:zbw:rwirep:0288 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Hugh Macartney & Robert McMillan & Uros Petronijevic, 2015. "Incentive Design in Education: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 21835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    school accountability; high stakes exams; educational value added;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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