Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System

47 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2006 Last revised: 29 Jul 2010

See all articles by Julie Berry Cullen

Julie Berry Cullen

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Randall Reback

Columbia University, Barnard College - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 2006

Abstract

We explore the extent to which schools manipulate the composition of students in the test-taking pool in order to maximize ratings under Texas' accountability system in the 1990s. We first derive predictions from a static model of administrators' incentives given the structure of the ratings criteria, and then test these predictions by comparing differential changes in exemption rates across student subgroups within campuses and across campuses and regimes. Our analyses uncover evidence of a moderate degree of strategic behavior, so that there is some tension between designing systems that account for heterogeneity in student populations and that are manipulation-free.

Suggested Citation

Berry Cullen, Julianne (Julie) and Reback, Randall L., Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System (June 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12286, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=908525

Julianne (Julie) Berry Cullen (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Randall L. Reback

Columbia University, Barnard College - Department of Economics ( email )

3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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