Left Behind By Design: Proficiency Counts and Test-Based Accountability
Many test-based accountability systems, including the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), place great weight on the numbers of students who score at or above specified proficiency levels in various subjects. Accountability systems based on these metrics often provide incentives for teachers and principals to target children near current proficiency levels for extra attention, but these same systems provide weak incentives to devote extra attention to students who are clearly proficient already or who have little chance of becoming proficient in the near term. We show based on fifth grade test scores from the Chicago Public Schools that both the introduction of NCLB in 2002 and the introduction of similar district level reforms in 1996 generated noteworthy increases in reading and math scores among students in the middle of the achievement distribution. Nonetheless, the least academically advantaged students in Chicago did not score higher in math or reading following the introduction of accountability, and we find only mixed evidence of score gains among the most advantaged students. A large existing literature argues that accountability systems built around standardized tests greatly affect the amount of time that teachers devote to different topics. Our results for fifth graders in Chicago, as well as related results for sixth graders after the 1996 reform, suggest that the choice of the proficiency standard in such accountability systems determines the amount of time that teachers devote to students of different ability levels.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2007|
|Publication status:||published as Derek Neal & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2010. "Left Behind by Design: Proficiency Counts and Test-Based Accountability," Review of Economics and Statistics, vol 92(2), pages 263-283.|
|Note:||CH ED LS|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Becker, William E. & Rosen, Sherwin, 1992.
"The learning effect of assessment and evaluation in high school,"
Economics of Education Review,
Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 107-118, June.
- Becker, W. & Rosen, S., 1990. "The Learning Effect Of Assessment And Evaluation In High School," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 90-7, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
- 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.
- Burgess, Simon & Propper, Carol & Slater, Helen & Wilson, Deborah, 2005. "Who wins and who loses from school accountability? The distribution of educational gain in English secondary schools," CEPR Discussion Papers 5248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981.
"Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
- Daniel M. Koretz, 2002. "Limitations in the Use of Achievement Tests as Measures of Educators' Productivity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 752-777.
- Edward P. Lazear, 2006. "Speeding, Terrorism, and Teaching to the Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 1029-1061.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13293. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.