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Testing the feasibility of a value‐added model of school quality in a low‐income country

Lee Crawfurd () and Phil Elks

Development Policy Review, 2019, vol. 37, issue 4, 470-485

Abstract: Value‐added models (VAMS) are commonly used in high‐income countries for measuring the quality of teachers and schools, on the grounds that they are a fairer reflection of true quality than simple average test scores, as they account for differences in student intake. Not accounting for student's prior test scores can give a misleading impression of school quality. In this article, we adapt the current VAM of secondary school quality to the Ugandan context, and test its robustness. Using official test score data from Uganda, we test the robustness of the model to a range of different empirical specifications, including sensitivity to the inclusion of controls for student socioeconomic status. We find that the model is robust to a variety of different specifications and control variables. The VAM is low cost and has the potential to provide a clearer signal to parents, teachers, schools, and policy‐makers about how much learning is actually happening in different schools. This approach could be carried out at low cost in a wide range of low‐income countries that have similar testing regimes.

Date: 2019
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