Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Public Schools Manipulate Test Scores Upward To Avoid Stigma And Voucher Use

From the abstract to Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Staff Report 486, March 2011, "Vouchers, Responses, and the Test-Taking Population: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida" by Rajashri Chakrabarti:
...investigates whether the threat of vouchers and the stigma associated with the ... program induced schools to strategically manipulate their test-taking population. ... scores of students in several special-education and limited-English-proficient (LEP) categories were not included in the computation of school grades. Did this rule induce the threatened schools to reclassify some of their weaker students into these “excluded” categories so as to remove them from the effective test-taking pool? Using a regression discontinuity strategy, I find evidence in favor of strategic reclassification into the excluded LEP category in high-stakes grade 4 and entry-grade 3. In contrast, I find no evidence that the program led to reclassification into excluded special-education categories, which is consistent with the substantial costs of classifying into special-education categories during this period. These findings have important policy implications. [emphasis added]
The full paper is available here>

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