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Does School Accountability Lead to Improved Student Performance?

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  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • Margaret E. Raymond

Abstract

The leading school reform policy in the United States revolves around strong accountability of schools with consequences for performance. The federal government's involvement through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 reinforces the prior movement of many states toward policies based on measured student achievement. Analysis of state achievement growth as measured by the National Assessment of Educational progress shows that accountability systems introduced during the 1990s had a clear positive impact on student achievement. This single policy instrument did not, however, also lead to any narrowing in the black-white achievement gap (though it did narrow the Hispanic-white achievement gap). Moreover, the balck-white gap appears to have been harmed over the decade by increasing minority concentrations in the schools. An additional issue surrounding stronger accountability has been a concern about unintended consequences related to such things as higher exclusion rates from testing, increased drop-out rates, and the like. Our analysis of special education placement rates, a frequently identified area of concern, does not show any responsiveness to the introduction of accountability systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2004. "Does School Accountability Lead to Improved Student Performance?," NBER Working Papers 10591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10591
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. "New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 349-383, July.
    2. Hanushek, Eric A & Rivkin, Steven G & Taylor, Lori L, 1996. "Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 611-627, November.
    3. Eric A. Hanushek & Julie A. Somers, 1999. "Schooling, Inequality, and the Impact of Government," NBER Working Papers 7450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
    6. Eric A. Hanushek, 2004. "Some Simple Analytics of School Quality," NBER Working Papers 10229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Eric A. Hanushek, 2001. "Black-White Achievement Differences and Governmental Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 24-28, May.
    8. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    9. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    10. David N. Figlio & Lawrence S. Getzler, 2002. "Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System," NBER Working Papers 9307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2004. "The Effect of School Accountability Systems on the Level and Distribution of Student Achievement," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 406-415, 04/05.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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