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Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Who wins and who loses from school accountability? The distribution of educational gain in English secondary schools

Author(s): Simon Burgess, Carol Propper, Helen Slater and Deborah Wilson

Publication Date: September 2005

Keyword(s): educational value added, high stakes exams and school accountability

Programme Area(s): Public Economics

Abstract: In 1988 the UK government introduced greater accountability into the English state school sector. But the information that schools are required to make public on their pupil achievement is only partial. The paper examines whether accountability measures based on a partial summary of student achievement influence the distribution of student achievement. Since school ratings only incorporate test results via pass rates, schools have incentives to improve the performance of students who are on the margin of meeting these standards, to the detriment of very low achieving or high achieving pupils. Using pupil level data for a cohort of all students in secondary public sector schools in England, we find that this policy reduces the educational gains and exam performance in high stakes exams of very low ability students.

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Bibliographic Reference

Burgess, S, Propper, C, Slater, H and Wilson, D. 2005. 'Who wins and who loses from school accountability? The distribution of educational gain in English secondary schools'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5248