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Short-run learning dynamics under a test-based accountability system : evidence from Pakistan

Author

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  • Barrera-Osorio, Felipe
  • Raju, Dhushyanth

Abstract

Low student learning is a common finding in much of the developing world. This paper uses a relatively unique dataset of five semiannual rounds of standardized test data to characterize and explain the short-term changes in student learning. The data are collected as part of the quality assurance system for a public-private partnership program that offers public subsidies conditional on minimum learning levels to low-cost private schools in Pakistan. Apart from a large positive distributional shift in learning between the first two test rounds, the learning distributions over test rounds show little progress. Schools are ejected from the program if they fail to achieve a minimum pass rate in the test in two consecutive attempts, making the test high stakes. Sharp regression discontinuity estimates show that the threat of program exit on schools that barely failed the test for the first time induces large learning gains. The large change in learning between the first two test rounds is likely attributable to this accountability pressure given that a large share of new program entrants failed in the first test round. Schools also qualify for substantial annual teacher bonuses if they achieve a minimum score in a composite measure of student test participation and mean test score. Sharp regression discontinuity estimates do not show that the prospect of future teacher bonus rewards induces learning gains for schools that barely did not qualify for the bonus.

Suggested Citation

  • Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2010. "Short-run learning dynamics under a test-based accountability system : evidence from Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5465, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5465
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2011. "Evaluating public per-student subsidies to low-cost private schools : regression-discontinuity evidence from Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5638, The World Bank.
    5. repec:mpr:mprres:6364 is not listed on IDEAS
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    7. Chiang, Hanley, 2009. "How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1045-1057, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dahal,Mahesh & Nguyen,Quynh T., 2014. "Private non-state sector engagement in the provision of educational services at the primary and secondary levels in South Asia : an analytical review of its role in school enrollment and student achie," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6899, The World Bank.
    2. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja, 2015. "Delivering education: a pragmatic framework for improving education in low-income countries," Chapters, in: Pauline Dixon & Steve Humble & Chris Counihan (ed.), Handbook of International Development and Education, chapter 6, pages 85-130, Edward Elgar Publishing.

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    Keywords

    Tertiary Education; Education For All; Secondary Education; Teaching and Learning; Primary Education;
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