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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
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INCENTIVES AND TEST-BASED
ACCOUNTABILITY IN EDUCATION

Committee on Incentives and Test-Based Accountability
in Public Education

Michael Hout and Stuart W. Elliott, Editors


Board on Testing and Assessment

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                          OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
×

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Awards B7990 and D08025 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Awards 2006-7514 and 2007-1580 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Additional funding was also provided by the Presidents’ Committee of The National Academies. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Carnegie Corporation of New York or the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2011). Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Committee on Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Public Education, M. Hout and S.W. Elliott, Editors. Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

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The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
×

COMMITTEE ON INCENTIVES AND TEST-BASED ACCOUNTABILITY IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

Michael Hout (Chair), Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

Dan Ariely, Fuqua School of Business, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and School of Medicine, Duke University

George P. Baker III, Harvard Business School

Henry Braun, Lynch School of Education, Boston College

Anthony S. Bryk, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (until 2008)

Edward L. Deci, Department of Psychology, University of Rochester

Christopher F. Edley, Jr., School of Law, University of California, Berkeley

Geno Flores, California Department of Education

Carolyn J. Heinrich, LaFollette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Paul Hill, School of Public Affairs, University of Washington

Thomas J. Kane, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington (until February 2009)

Daniel M. Koretz, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Kevin Lang, Department of Economics, Boston University

Susanna Loeb, School of Education, Stanford University

Michael Lovaglia, Department of Sociology, University of Iowa, Iowa City

Lorrie A. Shepard, School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder

Brian Stecher, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California

Stuart W. Elliott, Study Director

Naomi Chudowsky, Senior Program Officer (until 2009)

Rose Neugroschel, Research Assistant (2009-2010)

Teresia Wilmore, Senior Program Assistant (until 2009)

Kelly Duncan, Senior Program Assistant (2009-2010)

Kelly Iverson, Senior Program Assistant (since 2010)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
×

BOARD ON TESTING AND ASSESSMENT
2010-2011

Edward Haertel (Chair), School of Education, Stanford University

Lyle Bachman, Department of Applied Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles

Stephen Dunbar, College of Education, University of Iowa

David J. Francis, Department of Psychology, University of Houston

Michael Kane, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey

Kevin Lang, Department of Economics, Boston University

Michael Nettles, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey

Diana C. Pullin, Lynch School of Education, Boston College

Brian Stecher, RAND Education, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California

Mark Wilson, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley

Rebecca Zwick, Statistical Analysis and Psychometric Research, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey

Stuart W. Elliott, Director

Judith A. Koenig, Senior Program Officer

Kelly Iverson, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
×

Preface

This project originated in the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA) in 2002 as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was in its early stages of implementation. The initial discussions were sparked by the different perspectives on the use of test-based incentives by the board members, whose expertise included a wide range of disciplines. In particular, the board’s interest in the topic was animated by the apparent tension between the economics and educational measurement literatures about the potential of test-based accountability to improve student achievement.

As a result of its early discussions, BOTA held workshops about the use of incentives in 2003 and 2005. These early discussions were funded, in part, by support for BOTA from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. National Science Foundation. After these workshops the board identified, defined, and sought support for the research synthesis the board concluded could be undertaken. With generous funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Committee on Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Public Education was appointed in early 2007 to carry on the work that BOTA had started.

The charge called for the committee to examine research related to the use of incentives and to synthesize its implications for the use of test-based incentives in education. The committee held three meetings, as well as a workshop on multiple measures and NCLB that was supported by

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
×

additional funding from the Carnegie Corporation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Presidents’ Committee of The National Academies.

When work began on this topic 9 years ago, no one expected that the project would occupy most of a decade or that it would provide such an opportunity to survey a remarkable period of educational change. As the report notes in Chapter 1, the use of test-based incentives in education has been growing for several decades. However, it was in the first decade of the 21st century—which saw the enactment of NCLB, the maturation of the state movement for using high school exit exams, and the strong interest in using newly-available student test data to tie teacher pay to value-added analyses of their students’ test results—that the use of test-based incentives truly took hold of the education policy world. At the same time, there has been a transformation in the rigor of the methods used to analyze educational data. The combination of policy experimentation and new research methods has produced the set of studies that are reviewed in this report. We note that few of these studies were available when BOTA started down this path in 2002.

Over the course of this work, we have benefited from the generous contributions of many individuals. Three members of BOTA provided the key impetus in the initial development of the ideas and the definition of the current project: Chris Edley, Daniel Koretz, and Edward Lazear. The project would never have come together without their suggestions and encouragement. In addition, the suggestions of the staff of the project’s funders—Barbara Gombach and Talia Milgrom-Elcott at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Marshall (Mike) S. Smith at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation—helped define a balanced and workable study. We are grateful for their suggestions for shaping the project and for their patience as the work has unfolded.

In addition to the members of BOTA, a number of individuals made invited presentations at the initial 2003 and 2005 workshops that developed the project, and we thank them: Hilda Borko, University of Colorado; Edward Deci, University of Rochester; Eric Hanushek, Stanford University; Carolyn Heinrich, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Richard Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania; Richard Koestner, McGill University; Michael Kramer, Harvard University; Victor Lavy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Harry O’Neil, University of Southern California; and Brian Stecher, RAND.

The committee’s workshop on multiple measures in 2007 included a number of invited presentations that helped the committee explore the use of multiple measures and refine its thinking about their use, and we are grateful for this input: Robert Bernstein, California Department of Education; Kerri Briggs, U.S. Department of Education; Mitchell Chester, Ohio Department of Education; Daniel Fuller, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Drew Gitomer, Educational Testing

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
×

Service; Kati Haycock, Education Trust; Jan Hoegh, Nebraska Department of Education; Lindsay Hunsicker, Office of Senator Enzi; Robert Linn, University of Colorado; Jill Morningstar, House Education and Labor Committee; Roberto Rodriguez, Office of Senator Kennedy; and William Taylor, Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights.

As we finalized the report’s text, we received assistance from a number of the authors of studies cited to ensure that we were accurately describing their study conclusions. We thank the following researchers for their assistance: Eric Bettinger, Stanford University; Thomas D. Cook, Northwestern University; Roland Fryer, Harvard University; Steven M. Glazerman, Mathematica Policy Research; Brian A. Jacob, University of Michigan; Victor Lavy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Jaekyung Lee, State University of New York, Buffalo; Karthik Muralidharan, University of California, San Diego; Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University; John Robert Warren, University of Minnesota; and Manyee Wong, Northwestern University.

The committee’s work was assisted by members of the National Research Council (NRC) staff. Naomi Chudowsky worked closely with the committee members to turn their discussions into initial draft text. Teresia Wilmore, Kelly Duncan, Rose Neugroschel, and Kelly Iverson provided administrative support and research assistance throughout the course of the project. The text was greatly improved by the expert editing of Chris McShane, Eugenia Grohman, and Yvonne Wise. Finally, a project of this duration experiences more than its share of institutional hurdles; we are deeply indebted to the efforts of several NRC staff: Michael Feuer, Patricia Morison, Connie Citro, and Robert Hauser for their help and encouragement throughout the project.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Eric Bettinger, School of Education, Stanford University; Martha Darling, consultant, Ann Arbor, MI; David P. Driscoll, consultant, Melrose, MA; Amanda M. Durik, Department of Psychology, Northern Illinois University; Edward Haertel, School of Education, Stanford University; Jane Hannaway, Education Policy Center, Urban Institute, Washington, DC; Joseph A. Martineau, Office of Educational Assessment and Accountabil-

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
×

ity, Michigan Department of Education; Lorraine McDonnell, Department of Political Science, University of California at Santa Barbara; Michael S. McPherson, Office of the President, Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL; Barbara Reskin, Department of Sociology, University of Washington; and Lauress (Laurie) L. Wise, Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), Monterey, CA.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Charles E. Phelps, university professor and provost emeritus, University of Rochester and Richard J. Shavelson, School of Education, Stanford University. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report, however, rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Michael Hout, Chair
Stuart W. Elliott, Study Director
Committee on Incentives and Test-Based
Accountability in Public Education

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12521.
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In recent years there have been increasing efforts to use accountability systems based on large-scale tests of students as a mechanism for improving student achievement. The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a prominent example of such an effort, but it is only the continuation of a steady trend toward greater test-based accountability in education that has been going on for decades. Over time, such accountability systems included ever-stronger incentives to motivate school administrators, teachers, and students to perform better.

Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education reviews and synthesizes relevant research from economics, psychology, education, and related fields about how incentives work in educational accountability systems. The book helps identify circumstances in which test-based incentives may have a positive or a negative impact on student learning and offers recommendations for how to improve current test-based accountability policies. The most important directions for further research are also highlighted.

For the first time, research and theory on incentives from the fields of economics, psychology, and educational measurement have all been pulled together and synthesized. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education will inform people about the motivation of educators and students and inform policy discussions about NCLB and state accountability systems. Education researchers, K-12 school administrators and teachers, as well as graduate students studying education policy and educational measurement will use this book to learn more about the motivation of educators and students. Education policy makers at all levels of government will rely on this book to inform policy discussions about NCLB and state accountability systems.

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