IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/brn/wpaper/0602.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Teaching to the Rating: School Accountability and the Distribution of Student Achievement

Author

Listed:
  • Randall Reback

    (Barnard College, Columbia University)

Abstract

This paper examines whether minimum competency school accountability systems, such as those created under No Child Left Behind, influence the distribution of student achievement. Because school ratings in these systems only incorporate students' test scores via pass rates, this type of system increases incentives for schools to improve the performance of students who are on the margin of passing but does not increase short-run incentives for schools to improve other students' performance. Using student-level, panel data from Texas during the 1990's, I explicitly calculate schools' short-run incentives to improve various students' expected performance, and I find that schools do respond to these incentives. Students perform better than expected when their test score is particularly important for their schools' accountability rating. Also, low achieving students perform better than expected in math when many of their classmates' math scores are important for the schools' rating, while relatively high achieving students do not perform better. Distributional effects appear to be related to broad changes in resources or instruction, as well as narrowly tailored attempts to improve the performance of specific students.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall Reback, 2006. "Teaching to the Rating: School Accountability and the Distribution of Student Achievement," Working Papers 0602, Barnard College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:brn:wpaper:0602
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.barnard.columbia.edu/working_papers/wp0602.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James J. Heckman & Carolyn Heinrich & Jeffrey Smith, 2002. "The Performance of Performance Standards," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 778-811.
    2. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kain, John F. & Rivkin, Steven G. & Branch, Gregory F., 2007. "Charter school quality and parental decision making with school choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 823-848, June.
    3. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2004. "An Empirical Investigation of Gaming Responses to Explicit Performance Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 23-56, January.
    4. Courty, Pascal & Marschke, Gerald, 1997. "Measuring Government Performance: Lessons from a Federal Job-Training Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 383-388, May.
    5. Figlio, David N. & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 2006. "Do accountability and voucher threats improve low-performing schools?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 239-255, January.
    6. 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.
    7. Figlio, David N., 2006. "Testing, crime and punishment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 837-851, May.
    8. Figlio, David N. & Winicki, Joshua, 2005. "Food for thought: the effects of school accountability plans on school nutrition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 381-394, February.
    9. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877.
    10. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2008. "The Impact of Assessment and Accountability on Teacher Recruitment and Retention," Public Finance Review, , vol. 36(1), pages 88-111, January.
    11. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions That Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1237-1258, September.
    12. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2005. "Does school accountability lead to improved student performance?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 297-327.
    13. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kain, John F. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2004. "Disruption versus Tiebout improvement: the costs and benefits of switching schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1721-1746, August.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Jacob, Brian A., 2005. "Accountability, incentives and behavior: the impact of high-stakes testing in the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 761-796, June.
    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. 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.
    2. Feng, Li & Figlio, David & Sass, Tim, 2018. "School accountability and teacher mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 1-17.
    3. 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.
    4. Cuesta, José Ignacio & González, Felipe & Larroulet Philippi, Cristian, 2020. "Distorted quality signals in school markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).
    5. Emiliana Vegas & Ilana Umansky, . "Improving Teaching and Learning through Effective Incentives : What Can We Learn from Education Reforms in Latin America?," World Bank Other Operational Studies, The World Bank, number 8694.
    6. Rezende, Marcelo, 2010. "The effects of accountability on higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 842-856, October.
    7. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2017. "Adequate (or Adipose?) Yearly Progress: Assessing the Effect of “No Child Left Behind” on Children's Obesity," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(1), pages 54-76, Winter.
    8. Figlio, David N. & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 2006. "Do accountability and voucher threats improve low-performing schools?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 239-255, January.
    9. Craig, Steven G. & Imberman, Scott A. & Perdue, Adam, 2013. "Does it pay to get an A? School resource allocations in response to accountability ratings," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-42.
    10. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education,, Elsevier.
    11. Nunes, Luis C. & Reis, Ana Balcão & Seabra, Carmo, 2015. "The publication of school rankings: A step toward increased accountability?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 15-23.
    12. Seth Gershenson, 2016. "Performance Standards and Employee Effort: Evidence From Teacher Absences," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(3), pages 615-638, June.
    13. Bertoni, Marco & Brunello, Giorgio & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2013. "When the cat is near, the mice won't play: The effect of external examiners in Italian schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 65-77.
    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. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Sarah C. Fuller & Helen F. Ladd, 2013. "School-Based Accountability and the Distribution of Teacher Quality Across Grades in Elementary School," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 528-559, October.
    18. Michael Coelli & Gigi Foster & Andrew Leigh, 2018. "Do School Principals Respond to Increased Public Scrutiny? New Survey Evidence from Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 94(S1), pages 73-101, June.
    19. Gershenson, Seth & Holt, Stephen B. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2015. "Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 9202, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Bokhari, Farasat A.S. & Schneider, Helen, 2011. "School accountability laws and the consumption of psychostimulants," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 355-372, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    School Accountability; Performance measures; Test scores; No Child Left Behind; School Ratings; Incentives; Distributional Effects; Minimum Competency;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • H39 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Other

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:brn:wpaper:0602. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/edclbus.html .

    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: Robert O'Connor (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/edclbus.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.