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For School Performance, Accountability Matters

How important is school accountability to school performance? According to a new study, the answer is: very. In 2001, Wales abolished the publication of school performance tables, providing a nice shock to the system that allowed economists Simon Burgess, Deborah Wilson, and Jack Worth to compare school performance in Wales with performance in England, which continued to publish the tables. The authors find “significant and robust evidence that this reform markedly reduced school?effectiveness in Wales. There is significant heterogeneity across schools: schools in the top?quartile of the league tables show no effect. We also test whether the reform reduced?school segregation in Wales, and find no systematic significant impact on either sorting by?ability or by socioeconomic status.” (HT: Marginal Revolution)