The effect of accountability policies in primary education in Amsterdam

Dinand Webbink, Victoria Chorny
CPB, The Netherlands

In 1995 the municipality of Amsterdam introduced accountability policies for schools in primary education. Population statistics show a large increase of test scores in the decade after the introduction of the new urban policies. This paper assesses this increase in test scores by analyzing data of a large sample of schools that include scores on the published test and scores on two independently taken tests that are not published. Difference-in-differences estimates show that after the introduction of the accountability policies scores for all tests increased substantially more in Amsterdam than in the rest of the country and more than in the other three large Dutch cities. Two-thirds of the increase on the published test score seem to be related with an increase of general skills, and one-third with an increase of test-specific skills. We do not find evidence for strategic behavior of schools. The accountability policies in Amsterdam seem to have succeeded in raising educational achievements in primary schools.

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