The Cost of Accountability
Discussions of school accountability focus on two issues: poor test administration and the expense of accountability. Up to this point, researchers have focused on test quality and simply assumed that the programs are expensive enough to crowd out other policies, such as class size reduction or higher teacher salaries. Researchers have also assumed that it is so expensive to have a good accountability program (which includes good comprehensive tests, well-defined standards, an effective report card system, and safeguards that prevent cheating and teaching the test) that only poor accountability systems will be affordable. In this paper, I present the facts about how much accountability costs. The facts are, fortunately, highly knowable because costs show up both as expenditures on government budgets and as revenues on companies' (mainly test makers') accounts. Moreover, it turns out that worrying about measurement error in the cost data is pointless. The costs of accountability programs are so tiny that even the most generous accounting could not make them appear large, relative to the cost of other education programs. The 'most expensive' programs in the United States generally cost less than one quarter of 1 percent of per pupil spending, and most of these are only as costly as they are because a state is in the 'expensive' and temporary phase of developing its own comprehensive tests.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Evers, Williamson M. and Herbert J. Walberg (eds.) School Accountability. Stanford University, Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2002.|
|Note:||CH LE PE ED|
|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
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8855. 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 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.