School Grants and School Policy (News and Research 66)

Introducing a Performance-Based School Grant in Jakarta  What Do We Know about Its Impact after Two Years?  Samer Al-Samarrai, Unika Shrestha, Amer Hasan, Nozomi Nakajima, Santoso Santoso, Wisnu Harto Adi Wijoy  This paper evaluates the early impact of introducing a performance component into Jakarta’s school grant program on learning outcomes. Using administrative data, it applies difference-in-differences and regression discontinuity approaches to identify the impact of the grant by exploiting differences in program coverage over time, as well as by comparing changes in test scores between schools that received the additional performance award with schools that did not. The paper finds that the introduction of the performance component had different impacts on government primary and junior secondary schools. The program improved learning outcomes for primary schools at the bottom of the performance distribution and narrowed performance gaps across schools. However, improvements in equity were also driven by negative impacts of the program on better performing primary schools. Overall, the program reduced primary examination scores albeit by a small amount. In contrast to the results at the primary level, the performance component improved examination scores in government junior secondary schools. However, the impact seemed to be greatest among better performing schools and has therefore widened performance gaps. The findings also suggest that program impact was largely through competition between schools to receive the performance component. There is little evidence that the additional resources schools received from the award had any additional impact…

IX NIS International Research-to-Practice Conference, 26-27 October 2017: Keynote Speech: Kazakhstan Economic Benefits Education00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000a

Disabled students struggle to access education  The information was revealed at a seminar on education access for disabled students held by the Disability Research and Capacity Development (DRD) centre on October 23 in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam had about 6.1 million people with disabilities or 7.8 percent of the population. The number of the people able to read and write between 16 and 24 years old accounted for nearly 70 percent of the group, but only 0.1 percent of Vietnamese with disabilities attended colleges or universities. Disabled students have to pay for such appropriate support equipment as mobility or hearing aid and specialised learning materials, aside from tuition fees. They also find it hard to get a part-time job to get work experience. Duong Phuong Hanh, Director of the Centre for Research and Education of the Deaf, said there are numerous specialised primary schools for the community, but not many from secondary to higher education. Learning becomes even harder for the disabled due to the lack of suitable materials and support. According to Hoang Truong Giang, deputy head of the primary education office under the HCM City Department of Education and Training, another issue, in addition to inadequate school facilities catering to the needs of the disabled, is limited capacity of personnel in ranking degrees of disabilities to issue an official certificate that will help students and their teachers access Government support policies…

The impact of high-stakes school admission exams on study achievements: quasi-experimental evidence from Slovakia We explore whether and to what extent the presence of high-stakes admission exams to selective schools affects student achievement, presumably through more intensive study effort. Our identification strategy exploits a quasi-experimental feature of a reform in Slovakia that shifted the school grade during which high-stakes exams are taken by 1 year. This reform enables us to compare students at the moment when they pass these exams with students in the same grade 1 year ahead of the exams. Using data from the low-stakes international TIMSS skills survey and employing difference-in-difference methodology, we find that the occurrence of high-stakes admission exams increased 10-year-old students’ math test scores by 0.2 standard deviations, on average. This effect additionally accrues by around 0.05 standard deviations among students with the highest probability of being admitted to selective schools. Although we find similar effects for both genders, there are indications that high-stakes exams in more competitive environments affect girls more than boys…

Non-Financial Incentives, Selectivity and Performance of Volunteers: Evidence From a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment  We embed a randomized controlled experiment in BRAC’s existing volunteer tutor (Chhatrabandhu) program in Bangladesh to examine the effects of non-financial incentives on tutors’ retention rates and performance. The experiment involves nearly 500 secondary schools and 4200 volunteer tutors. We demonstrate that offering performance-contingent public-recognition award leads to higher dropout rates and poorer performance, particularly among volunteers with high other-regarding and low teaching-career motive for volunteering. Nevertheless, the treatment improves the performance of volunteers with low other-regarding motive for volunteering. When individuals can self-select into an incentive scheme, its motivation crowding-in effect may counteract its motivation crowding-out effect on performance. The overall performance effect of non-financial incentives depends crucially on the composition of the types of workers who self-select into an organization…

The Effects of Accountability Incentives in Early Childhood Education In an effort to enhance the quality of early childhood education (ECE) at scale, nearly all U.S. states have recently adopted Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). These accountability systems give providers and parents information on program quality and create both reputational and financial incentives for program improvement. However, we know little about whether these accountability reforms operate as theorized. This study provides the first empirical evidence on this question using data from North Carolina, a state with a mature QRIS. Using a regression discontinuity design, we examine how quasi-random assignment to a lower quality rating influenced subsequent outcomes of ECE programs. We find that programs responded to a lower quality rating with comparative performance gains, including improvement on a multi-faceted measure of classroom quality. Programs quasi-randomly assigned to a lower star rating also experienced enrollment declines, which is consistent with the hypothesis that parents responded to information about program quality by selectively enrolling away from programs with lower ratings. These effects were concentrated among programs that faced higher levels of competition from nearby providers…

The Impact of the Great Recession on Student Achievement: Evidence from Population Data  The Great Recession was the most severe economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression. Using newly available population-level achievement data from the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA), we estimate the impact of the Great Recession on the math and English language arts (ELA) achievement of all grade 3-8 students in the United States. Employing a difference-in-differences strategy that leverages both cross-district variation in the economic shock of the recession and within-district, cross-cohort variation in school-age years of exposure to the recession, we find that the onset of the Great Recession significantly reduced student math and ELA achievement. Moreover, the recessionary effect on student achievement was concentrated among school districts serving more economically disadvantaged and minority students, indicating that the adverse effects of the recession were not distributed equally among the population of U.S. students. We also find that the academic impact of the recession was more severe for students who were older at the time of first exposure to the recession, compared to their younger counterparts. Finally, the recession’s effects on student achievement were concentrated in districts with the largest reductions in teacher personnel, providing evidence that the effects we observe are driven, in part, by the recession’s negative effects on school resources. We discuss the implications of and potential policy responses to economic shocks that adversely affect student achievement and widen educational inequality…

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