Do test scores determine school quality?

Diether W. Beuermann

Diether W. Beuermann

Student performance on standardized tests is typically the main measure of school quality. Important decisions (such as school closures, the design of teacher performance pay schemes, and school accountability procedures) often rely on test-score metrics. These metrics may be simple test-score averages or more sophisticated measures of school effectiveness at improving test scores. The more sophisticated measures approximate the specific contribution of each school to the improvement of students’ outcomes and are often called value-added.

 

However, is it the case that schools that improve academic test scores are the same schools that also improve important longer-run outcomes such as crime, risky behaviors, college attendance, and earnings? If not, basing policy decisions solely on test-score metrics (which is common) may not improve the broader adult outcomes that policymakers and parents may value. Read more. 

Diether W. Beuermann

Diether W. Beuermann

He is a Lead Economist in the Caribbean Country Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. He has led research and data collection projects in various countries, including Barbados, Colombia, Guyana, Jamaica, Peru, Russia, Suriname, The Bahamas, Democratic Republic of Congo, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States. His research has covered the effects of different information and communication technologies on agricultural profitability, child labor, academic performance, pre-natal care, and neo-natal health. He has also conducted research on the effectiveness of participatory budgeting, the short- and long-run effects of educational quality, the multidimensional nature of school causal effects, the determinants of school choice, the effectiveness of math-focused parenting programs, the role of remittances as a social insurance mechanism, the effects of early-life weather shocks on short- and long-term human capital accumulation, among others,

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