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Accountability, Ability and Disability: Gaming the System?

Improving School Accountability

ISBN: 978-0-76231-351-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-446-1

Publication date: 25 August 2006


This paper utilizes highly detailed student-level data to examine whether the initiation of a high-stakes test for accountability purposes affected Florida public schools’ decisions regarding whether to assign students to special education. Using student-level fixed effects models, we find that schools systematically placed students from low socio-economic status backgrounds and historically low-performing students into special education categories that were at the time exempt from the accountability system. High-poverty schools are significantly more likely to reclassify low-achieving students than are more affluent schools. These results provide important implications for the design of school accountability systems.


Figlio, D.N. and Getzler, L.S. (2006), "Accountability, Ability and Disability: Gaming the System?", Gronberg, T.J. and Jansen, D.W. (Ed.) Improving School Accountability (Advances in Applied Microeconomics, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-49.



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