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Thursday, 8th November 2007

Education -- Accountability Lost

Accountability Lost
Source: Education Next (Hoover Institution)
From press release:

A new study published in the winter 2008 issue of Education Next finds that voters may be failing to hold school board members accountable for student performance on tests mandated by No Child Left Behind. According to research conducted by the University of Chicago’s Christopher R. Berry and William G. Howell, a demonstrated ability to improve test scores may have little bearing on the reelection rates of incumbent school board members.

In the first large-scale study of how voters and candidates respond to student learning trends in school board elections, Berry and Howell analyzed test-score data and election results from 499 races in three election cycles in South Carolina (the elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004) to study whether voters either punish or reward incumbent school board members on the basis of student performance on math and reading tests. Berry and Howell began their analysis in 2000 because it was the first cycle of elections after South Carolina had started administering the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT) to students in grades 3 to 8 in 1999.

Berry and Howell found that, although South Carolina voters did appear to evaluate school board members on the basis of student performance in the 2000 election, in the 2002 and 2004 elections, they did not. Beginning in 2002, PACT fulfilled South carolina's testing requirements under NCLB.


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