April 1, 2004
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
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The recent movement toward increased accountability of schools raises questions about its impact on racial and ethnic differences in performance. Using panel data for states from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the authors investigate how accountability and a variety of other attributes affect student performance in math and reading. They find that accountability has a positive influence on everybody's achievement, but that it will not close the black-white achievement gap. Thus, when there are multiple objectives - raising performance and closing achievement gaps - more than a single policy instrument will be required.
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