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Accountability pressure: Regression discontinuity estimates of how No Child Left Behind influenced student behavior

John B. Holbein and Helen F. Ladd

Economics of Education Review, 2017, vol. 58, issue C, 55-67

Abstract: In this paper we examine how failing to make adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the accountability pressure that ensues, affects various non-achievement student behaviors. Using administrative data from North Carolina and leveraging a discontinuity in the determination of school failure, we examine the causal impact of this form of accountability pressure both on student behaviors that are incentivized by NCLB and on those that are not. We find evidence that, as NCLB intends, pressure encourages students to show up at school and to do so on time. Accountability pressure also appears to have the unintended effect, however, of increasing the number of student misbehaviors. Further, we find some evidence that this negative response is most pronounced among minorities and low performing students: those who are the most likely to be left behind.

Keywords: Performance-based accountability; No Child Left Behind; Non-cognitive skills; Regression discontinuity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I00 I28 I21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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