HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, FAS


States and districts are increasingly incorporating measures of achievement growth into their school accountability systems, but there is little research on how these changes affect the public's perceptions of school quality. We conduct a nationally representative online survey experiment to identify the effects of providing participants with information about their local public schools' average achievement status and/or average achievement growth. Prior to receiving any information, participants already possess a modest understanding of how their local schools perform in terms of status, but they are largely unaware of how these schools perform in terms of growth. Participants who live in higher status districts tend to grade their local schools more favorably. The provision of status information does not fundamentally change this relationship. The provision of growth information, however, alters Americans' views about local educational performance. Once informed, participants' evaluations of their local schools better reflect the variation in district growth.


Houston, David M., Michael Henderson, Paul E. Peterson, and Martin R. West. "Status, Growth, and Perceptions of School Quality." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 44.1 (March 2022): 105-126.