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Incentives and Equity Under Standards-Based Reform


  • Betts, Julian
  • Costrell, Robert


The paper considers theoretical and empirical evidence on the impact of standards-based school reform. Our theoretical synthesis distinguishes between sorting and incentive effects of high standards, and spells out the potential tradeoffs and complementarities between enhancing efficiency and equity in student achievement. Differentiated credentials can be helpful in ameliorating tradeoffs, provided that distinct signals are clearly understood, especially between cognitive and non-cognitive skills. The paper reviews trends in state-level school accountability systems, and examines empirical evidence on the impact of increased standards and expectations on student achievement. Finally, the paper reviews some of the practical challenges facing the standards movement.

Suggested Citation

  • Betts, Julian & Costrell, Robert, 2000. "Incentives and Equity Under Standards-Based Reform," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt88p1f879, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt88p1f879

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrade, Eduardo C. & Castro, Luciano I., 2007. "When High Achievers Pay the Price for Higher Educational Standards," Insper Working Papers wpe_98, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    2. Eduardo Andrade & Luciano De Castro, 2010. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1533, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    3. Maresa, SPRIETSMA, 2006. "Regional school comparison and school choice : how do they relate to student performance ? Evidence from PISA 2003," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006002, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.


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