Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Targets of Opportunity: The Role of School-Specific Targeted Incentives on Student Achievement

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 9:10 AM
Japengo (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Matt Farber, University of Texas, Austin
In this paper, I examine the impacts that school-level, targeted incentives have on studentachievement, both of students belonging to and not belonging to the targeted group. As lawmakers begin to craft the next nationwide education initiative, accountability at the school level, both broadly and for specific students, is a central concern. I use a plausibly exogenous accountability policy from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 to examine how schools respond to specific race-based incentives whereby racial groups of students with more than fifty students add an extra criterion for schools to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) metric.  This paper uses a regression discontinuity design around that threshold with student-level Texas panel data for third through eighth graders from 2004 through 2011 to investigate the effects of the added criterion. The evidence suggests that these targeted incentives not only increase reading and math achievement for students in the targeted group, but for otherstudents in the school as well. These results do not vary by student performance, school performance, or racial group performance, indicating that schools are implementing a wide-scale program rather than small, focused interventions. Furthermore, these results persist for one to two years after treatment.

Full Paper: