OECD Education Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies drawing on the work of the OECD Directorate for Education. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language (English or French) with a short summary available in the other.

English, French

Does test-based school accountability have an impact on student achievement and equity in education?

A panel approach using PISA

School accountability is one of the most controversial recent reforms taking place in education systems around the world, but evidence of whether and which accountability practices affect equity and performance in academic achievement has been difficult to isolate and establish. By using data available from several cycles of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2006-2015), this paper assesses the extent to which accountability practices affect equity and performance in academic achievement in high-income-and-low-and-middle-income-countries. We found no conclusive evidence of accountability practices affecting educational outcomes in high-income-countries. However, we found some evidence in low-and-middle-income-countries pointing towards increased performance and increased inequality under accountability regimes in these contexts, although only in mathematics and science, and for one of our preferred specifications. In low-and-middle-income-countries, we found that, under higher levels of accountability, higher school autonomy on curriculum management and assessment could render better academic results in reading, mathematics and science.


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