London School of Economics Centre for the Economics of Education LSE
Centre for the Economics of Education  (CEE)

Abstract for:

Does Evaluation Distort Teacher Effort and Decisions? Quasi-experimental Evidence from a Policy of Retesting Students

Esteban  Aucejo,  Teresa  Romano,  Eric S.  Taylor,  April 2019
Paper No' CEPDP1612: | Full paper (pdf)
Save Reference as: BibTeX BibTeX File | Endote EndNote Import File
Keywords:

JEL Classification: I2; M5

Is hard copy/paper copy available? YES - Paper Copy Still In Print.
This Paper is published under the following series: CEP Discussion Papers
Share this page: Google Bookmarks Google Bookmarks | Facebook Facebook | Twitter Twitter

Abstract:

Performance evaluation may change employee effort and decisions in unintended ways, for example, in multitask jobs where the evaluation measure captures only a subset of (differentially weights) the job tasks. We show evidence of this multitask distortion in schools, with teachers allocating effort across students (tasks). Teachers are evaluated based on student test scores; students who fail the test are retested 2-3 weeks later; and only the higher of the two scores is used in the teachers’ evaluations. This retesting feature creates a sharp difference in the returns to teacher effort directed at failing versus passing students, even though both barely failing and barely passing students have arguably equal educational claim on (returns to) teacher effort. Using RD methods, we show that students who barely fail the end of school-year 𝑡 math test, and are then retested, score higher one year later (𝑡+1) compared to those who barely pass. This difference in scores occurs during the four years of the retest policy, but not in the years before or after. We find no evidence that the results arise from retesting per se, or from changes in students’ own behavior alone. The results suggest teachers give more effort to some students (tasks) simply because of the evaluation system incentives.