Status vs. Growth: The Distributional Effects of School Accountability Policies

Journal Article

Status vs. Growth: The Distributional Effects of School Accountability Policies

March 12, 2009

Abstract

Using a ten-year student-level panel dataset from North Carolina, we examine how school-specific pressure related to two school accountability approaches (status and growth) affects student achievement at different points in the prior-year achievement distribution. We find little or no evidence that schools in North Carolina ignore students far below proficiency under either approach. Importantly, we find that the status, but not the growth, approach reduces the reading achievement of higher performing students, with the losses in aggregate exceeding gains at the bottom. The distributional effects of accountability pressure depend on the type of accountability pressure and on the tested subject.

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