but our focus is on evidence from other measures of the same domain, including both the results of low-stakes tests and other outcomes, such as graduation.

Tables 4-1A, 4-1B, 4-2, and 4-3, presented at the end of the chapter, summarize the descriptive and outcome information discussed in the text below. The studies or groups of studies are referred to below and in the tables as examples; by number, and in some cases additional by letter designations. In both the text and tables, we divide the studies we analyzed into three categories that are familiar to education policy makers and researchers: school-level policies related to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and its predecessors; high school exit exams; and experiments with teachers and students that use rewards, such as performance pay. Note that the first two categories address policies rather than experiments and so involve larger numbers of students, teachers, and schools and longer implementation periods, but they also present greater difficulties in identifying appropriate comparison groups. NCLB, as the one federal policy discussed in our review, involves particularly difficult challenges in identifying a comparison group.


Criteria for Inclusion

Our literature review is limited to studies that allow us to draw causal conclusions about the overall effects of incentive policies and programs.1 In some cases, programs were planned to include untreated control groups for comparison; in other cases, researchers have carefully documented how to make appropriate comparisons. Because our purpose is to draw causal conclusions about the overall effects of test-based incentives, we exclude several kinds of studies that do not permit such conclusions:

•   studies that omit a comparison group, including the evaluations of NCLB carried out by the U.S. Department of Education (Stulich et al., 2007), the Center on Education Policy (2008), and the Northwest Evaluation Association (Cronin et al., 2005), in addition to various well-known earlier studies (e.g., Klein et al., 2000; Richards and Sheu, 1992);

•   cross-sectional studies that compare results with and without incentive programs but with no controls for selection into the


1For literature reviews that cover a broader range of related studies, see Figlio and Loeb (2010) on school accountability, Podgursky and Springer (2006) on teacher performance pay, and Holme et al. (2010) on high school exit examinations.

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