NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Heather L. Schwartz

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Working Papers

April 2013Fifty Ways to Leave a Child Behind: Idiosyncrasies and Discrepancies in States’ Implementation of NCLB
with Elizabeth Davidson, Randall Reback, Jonah E. Rockoff: w18988
The No Child Left Behind (NLCB) Act required states to adopt accountability systems measuring student proficiency on state administered exams. Based on student test score performance in 2002, states developed initial proficiency rate targets and future annual benchmarks designed to lead students to 100% proficiency on state exams by 2014. Any year a school fails to meet these targets, either across all students or by various subgroups of students, the school does not make Adequate Yearly Progress. While the federal government’s legislation provided a framework for NCLB implementation, it also gave states flexibility in their interpretation of many NCLB components, and school failure rates ranged from less than 1% to more than 80% across states. In this paper, we explore how states’ NCL...
January 2011Under Pressure: Job Security, Resource Allocation, and Productivity in Schools Under NCLB
with Randall Reback, Jonah Rockoff: w16745
The most sweeping federal education law in decades, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, requires states to administer standardized exams and to punish schools that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the fraction of students passing these exams. While the literature on school accountability is well-established, there exists no nationwide study of the strong short-term incentives created by NCLB for schools on the margin of failing AYP. We assemble the first comprehensive, national, school-level dataset concerning detailed performance measures used to calculate AYP, and demonstrate that idiosyncrasies in state policies create numerous cases where schools near the margin for satisfying their own state’s AYP requirements would have almost certainly failed or almost certainly made...

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