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Implementing value-added measures of school effectiveness: getting the incentives right


Economics of Education Review Volume 21, Number 1 ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


As part of their efforts to hold schools accountable, several states now calculate and publicize value-added measures of school effectiveness. This paper provides a careful evaluation of the value-added approach to measuring school success with particular attention to its implementation as a tool for increasing student achievement. In practice, even the more sophisticated of the measures currently in use fail to account for differences in resources, broadly defined, across schools and to address the problem of measurement error. The authors find that, as implemented, value-added measures of school effectiveness distort incentives and are likely to discourage good teachers and administrators from working in schools serving concentrations of disadvantaged students. The authors use a large longitudinally-matched data set of fifth grade students in North Carolina to document that approximately two-fifths of the differentially favorable outcome for schools serving advantaged students result from statistical bias associated with measurement error and that correcting for the measurement error leads to significant changes in the relative rankings of schools.


Ladd, H.F. & Walsh, R.P. Implementing value-added measures of school effectiveness: getting the incentives right. Economics of Education Review, 21(1), 1-17. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 24, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on January 28, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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