NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Testing, Crime and Punishment

David N. Figlio

NBER Working Paper No. 11194
Issued in March 2005
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED

The recent passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 solidified a national trend toward increased student testing for the purpose of evaluating public schools. This new environment for schools provides strong incentives for schools to alter the ways in which they deliver educational services. This paper investigates whether schools may employ discipline for misbehavior as a tool to bolster aggregate test performance. To do so, this paper utilizes an extraordinary dataset constructed from the school district administrative records of a subset of the school districts in Florida during the four years surrounding the introduction of a high-stakes testing regime. It compare the suspensions of students involved in each of the 41,803 incidents in which two students were suspended and where prior year test scores for both students are observed. While schools always tend to assign harsher punishments to low-performing students than to high-performing students throughout the year, this gap grows substantially during the testing window. Moreover, this testing window-related gap is only observed for students in testing grades. In summary, schools apparent act on the incentive to re-shape the testing pool through selective discipline in response to accountability pressures.

download in pdf format
   (134 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (134 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11194

Published: Figlio, David N. "Testing, Crime And Punishment," Journal of Public Economics, 2006, v90(4-5,May), 837-851.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Cullen and Reback w12286 Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System
Dee and Jacob w15531 The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Student Achievement
Figlio and Getzler w9307 Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System
Neal and Schanzenbach w13293 Left Behind By Design: Proficiency Counts and Test-Based Accountability
Hanushek and Raymond w10591 Does School Accountability Lead to Improved Student Performance?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us