IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9319.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Food for Thought: The Effects of School Accountability Plans on School Nutrition

Author

Listed:
  • David N. Figlio
  • Joshua Winicki

Abstract

School accountability systems based on high-stakes testing of students have become ubiquitous in the United States, and are now federal policy as well. This paper identifies a previously-unresearched method through which schools faced with potential sanctions may 'game the system' in order to have higher aggregate student test scores than might otherwise be warranted. There exists a well-established link between nutrition and short-term cognitive functioning. Hence, we investigate whether school districts exploit this relationship by strategically altering school nutrition menus during testing periods in an apparent attempt to artificially increase student test scores. Using detailed daily school nutrition data from a random sample of Virginia school districts, we find that school districts having schools faced with potential sanctions under Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOL) accountability system apparently respond by substantially increasing calories in their menus on testing days, while those without such immediate pressure do not change their menus. Suggestive evidence indicates that the school districts who do this the most experience the largest increases in pass rates.

Suggested Citation

  • David N. Figlio & Joshua Winicki, 2002. "Food for Thought: The Effects of School Accountability Plans on School Nutrition," NBER Working Papers 9319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9319
    Note: CH ED
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9319.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Hicks, L.E. & Langham, R.A. & Takenaka, J., 1982. "Cognitive and health measures following early nutritional supplementation: a sibling study," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 72(10), pages 1110-1118.
    3. Freeman, H.E. & Klein, R.E. & Townsend, J.W. & Lechtig, A., 1980. "Nutrition and cognitive development among rural Guatemalan children," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 70(12), pages 1277-1285.
    4. David N. Figlio & Lawrence S. Getzler, 2002. "Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System," NBER Working Papers 9307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Joshua Winicki & Kyle Jemison, 2003. "Food Insecurity and Hunger in the Kindergarten Classroom: Its Effect on Learning and Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 145-157, April.
    6. Alaimo, K. & Olson, C.M. & Frongillo E.A., Jr. & Briefel, R.R., 2001. "Food insufficiency, family income, and health in US preschool and school-aged children," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 91(5), pages 781-786.
    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. Pierre Koning & Karen Wiel, 2012. "School Responsiveness to Quality Rankings: An Empirical Analysis of Secondary Education in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(4), pages 339-355, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2006. "Alternative education finance strategies," Regional Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 7-27.
    4. Frisvold, David E., 2015. "Nutrition and cognitive achievement: An evaluation of the School Breakfast Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 91-104.
    5. 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.
    6. Cecilia Elena Rouse & Jane Hannaway & Dan Goldhaber & David Figlio, 2013. "Feeling the Florida Heat? How Low-Performing Schools Respond to Voucher and Accountability Pressure," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 251-281, May.
    7. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Accountability, Incentives and Behavior: The Impact of High-Stakes Testing in the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 8968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Thomas S. Dee & Will Dobbie & Brian A. Jacob & Jonah Rockoff, 2019. "The Causes and Consequences of Test Score Manipulation: Evidence from the New York Regents Examinations," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 382-423, July.
    9. Cuesta, José Ignacio & González, Felipe & Larroulet Philippi, Cristian, 2020. "Distorted quality signals in school markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).
    10. Rezende, Marcelo, 2010. "The effects of accountability on higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 842-856, October.
    11. 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.
    12. Bolbocean, Corneliu & Tylavsky, Frances A., 2021. "The impact of safety net programs on early-life developmental outcomes," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    13. Dhuey, Elizabeth & Lipscomb, Stephen, 2010. "Disabled or young? Relative age and special education diagnoses in schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 857-872, October.
    14. Colleen Donovan & David N. Figlio & Mark Rush, 2006. "Cramming: The Effects of School Accountability on College-Bound Students," NBER Working Papers 12628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Brian A. Jacob, 2007. "Test-Based Accountability and Student Achievement: An Investigation of Differential Performance on NAEP and State Assessments," NBER Working Papers 12817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. 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.
    17. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2007. "No Child Left Behind: Estimating the Impact on Choices and Student Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 13009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Deborah Wilson & Anete Piebalga, 2008. "Accurate performance measure but meaningless ranking exercise? An analysis of the English school league tables," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 07/176, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, UK.
    19. Coleman-Jensen, Alisha & McFall, William & Nord, Mark, 2013. "Food Insecurity in Households With Children: Prevalence, Severity, and Household Characteristics, 2010-11," Economic Information Bulletin 262126, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    20. Nord, Mark & Parker, Lynn, 2010. "How adequately are food needs of children in low-income households being met?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1175-1185, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

    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:nbr:nberwo:9319. 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/nberrus.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: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.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.