Assistant Professor of Education Policy, University of California, Davis
This paper examines the effect of the introduction of school accountability policies in Florida on schools’ student body compositions. We specifically examine the effects on the composition of incoming kindergarten classes, using a novel set of data that allows us to merge information on families’ socioeconomic characteristics drawn from birth records with school attendance patterns. We find evidence that high-SES parents were particularly responsive to the introduction of grades. Schools that received “A” grades saw significant increases on an index measure of socioeconomic status among their kindergarten students post-policy. These patterns seem to be driven by increased enrollment of children with college-educated mothers. We find some evidence that these responses are stronger for "A" schools that have nearby alternatives, and where nearby alternatives are poorer-performing. Finally, we find that subsequent releases of grades seem to have less influence on kindergarten class composition than the initial provision of information, even under changes to the grading formula that should provide a grading "shock".