NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Randall Reback

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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, Jonah E. Rockoff, Heather L. Schwartz: 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 Jonah Rockoff, Heather L. Schwartz: 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...
Jockeying for Position: Strategic High School Choice Under Texas' Top Ten Percent Plan
with Julie Berry Cullen, Mark C. Long: w16663
Beginning in 1998, all students in the state of Texas who graduated in the top ten percent of their high school classes were guaranteed admission to any in-state public higher education institution, including the flagships. While the goal of this policy is to improve college access for disadvantaged and minority students, the use of a school-specific standard to determine eligibility could have unintended consequences. Students may increase their chances of being in the top ten percent by choosing a high school with lower-achieving peers. Our analysis of students' school transitions between 8th and 10th grade three years before and after the policy change reveals that this incentive influences enrollment choices in the anticipated direction. Among the subset of students with both motiv...

Published: Cullen, Julie Berry & Long, Mark C. & Reback, Randall, 2013. "Jockeying for position: Strategic high school choice under Texas' top ten percent plan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 32-48. citation courtesy of

June 2006Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System
with Julie Berry Cullen: w12286
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.

Published: Gronberg. T. and D. Jansen (eds.) Improving School Accountability: Check-Ups or Choice, Advances in Applied Microeconomics 14. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 2006.

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers onlyInformation about this author at RePEc

 
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