A natural experiment in school accountability: the impact of school performance information on pupil progress

Simon M Burgess, Deborah J Wilson, Jack Worth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We test the hypothesis that the abolition of school performance tables negatively affects school effectiveness. Our data allow us to implement a classic difference-in-difference analysis comparing outcomes in England and Wales, before and after the abolition of the tables in Wales. We find significant and robust evidence that this reform markedly reduced school effectiveness in Wales relative to England. There is significant heterogeneity across schools: schools in the top quartile of the league tables show no effect. We also report that the reform had no systematic significant impact on either sorting by ability or by socioeconomic status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

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