School Report Cards Work

Simon Burgess, Deborah Wilson and Jack Worth look at what happened after school report card were abolished in Wales.

We test the hypothesis that the publication of school performance tables raises school effectiveness. Our data allow us to implement a classic difference-in-difference analysis comparing outcomes in England and Wales, before and after the abolition of the tables in Wales. We 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.

Hat tip: Economic Logician who also notes this study on report cards in the Netherlands.


What's next, co-ed choirs? Let Wales be Wales!

Is there a difference between no grades, as in Wales, and the situation where every kid today receives an A or a B?

Can grade inflation lead to, or has it already lead to, the same result as no grade at all.

This is Lake Wobegon, afterall, and all the kids are above average, so don't they deserve that A or B.

The report cards in question are report cards about schools, not students.

As long as this isn't one of those problems, where by observing you're changing the results. Did the schools do worse, or did the schools do worse at passing standardized tests, once they were no longer consistently measure by standardized tests?

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