Panel: Impacts of Accountability

Friday, November 9, 2012: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
International C (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Rajashri Chakrabarti, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Moderators:  Damon Clark, Cornell University and Steven Rivkin, Amherst College
Chairs:  Rajashri Chakrabarti, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

K-12 education has been pivotal in the national policy discourse for the last two decades, and there is a continued focus on school accountability as means of achieving significant improvements. It is thus imperative that we study how different aspects of such accountability measures impact schools, students, family choices, and even house prices. The four papers in this panel aim to do that. David Figlio and his coauthors use micro-level data from the decennial census and the American Community Survey to identify the effects of school accountability on public-private school choice and residential location. They argue that families are more likely to send children to private schools in states that introduce accountability systems with either very low or very high standards relative to those that introduce accountability systems with moderate standards levels. Rajashri Chakrabarti investigates whether the threat of sanctions along with stigma can bring about a different response from public schools than the stigma itself. While multiple pre-NCLB accountability systems incorporated both sanctions and stigma, the simultaneous nature of these consequences have so far precluded separation of these two effects in a convincing manner. Chakrabarti exploits the fact that under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, Title I schools missing annual yearly progress (AYP) face both sanctions and stigma, while non-Title 1 schools missing AYP face only stigma. Her results indicate that while stigma led to improvement in high stakes reading and math in the threatened schools, sanctions led to additional improvements in these subject areas in these schools. The paper by David Deming, Jennifer Jennings and Sandy Jencks investigate the long-run impact of accountability and high-stakes testing, using data from Texas. In Texas, beginning in 1993, schools were assigned performance grades based on the percent of students who passed state exams in math and reading. Their preliminary results indicate that school accountability increased attainment and earnings for students in low-performing schools, but not for students in the middle or at the top of the initial distribution. Finally, Scott Imberman and Michael Lovenheim analyze whether value-added methodology, particularly with respect to schools and teachers, provides information that parents, and the community at large, value. Using the unique and unexpected release of school value-added data by the Los Angeles Times newspaper in August of 2010 as an information shock, they estimate its impact on house sale prices through difference-in-differences and, using data on all of Los Angeles County including school districts that were not subject to the value-added release, triple-differences identification strategies. Preliminary results suggest that housing prices did increase but with a lag of around three quarters. Overall, the papers in this panel highlight the different mechanisms that interact in an accountability regime –choice between public and private schools and residential location, saliency of sanctions versus stigma, long-run impact of school accountability on educational attainment and earnings, information content of value-added indicators released by states– and should be of immense help to policymakers as they improve upon existing accountability systems.

School Accountability, Standards and Family Sorting
David Figlio, Northwestern University, Lauren Linzmeier, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jonas Vlachos, Stockholm University

The Effect of No Child Left Behind On Public Schools: Role of Sanctions Versus Stigma
Rajashri Chakrabarti, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Long-Run Impact of School Accountability On Educational Attainment and Earnings
David Deming, Harvard University and Jennifer Jennings, New York University

Does the Market Value Value-Added? Evidence From Housing Prices After Public Release of Teacher Value-Added
Scott Imberman, Michigan State University and Michael Lovenheim, Cornell University

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