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ERIC Number: EJ1084727
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 36
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0973-1849
School Education and the Lack of Parent Information
Bhattacharji, Prashant; Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi
Contemporary Education Dialogue, v13 n1 p57-92 Jan 2016
Many Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries publish school rankings annually, based on the aggregated student performance of different schools in the (high-stakes) board examinations. The literature cites two reasons in favour of the public availability of information on school performance: first, the highly valued imperative of providing parents information that will enable them to make more informed school choices for their children, and, second, the idea that when parents are better informed, poorly performing schools are under greater pressure to be accountable for improving their quality in order to compete to attract students. Detractors fear that rankings reflect not only the schools' quality but also the family backgrounds of their students. This article examines evidence for the claim that when school rankings are published, school quality increases. It also examines the ways in which countries ensure that school rankings reflect school quality and not the home backgrounds of their students. The article shows how school rankings based on subject performance can help principals diagnose the teaching of which subjects needs strengthening, and reveals how rankings can help parents choose from among all the schools in the neighbourhood of a city. The article also demonstrates that objective school rankings (based on exam results) and subjective school rankings (based on the perceptions of principals and parents of "academic reputation") differ substantially, with a correlation coefficient of only around 0.6-0.7. This suggests that subjective 'academic reputation' rankings are not a good substitute for objective rankings, and that stakeholders are not well informed about the actual academic standards of schools, a situation that strengthens the case for the public provision of information about school results. The article argues for the need for a healthy debate in India about the efficacy and relevance of school rankings as a way of improving school accountability and raising standards.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: India
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A