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Dale Ballou

Associate Professor, Emeritus, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Research Area

(1) Role of regulations and incentives in the training, recruitment, and retention of effective teachers. (2) Assessment of school and teacher effectiveness and the use of assessments in systems of sanctions and rewards.

Short Biography

Prior to receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1989, Professor Ballou spent several years teaching in a variety of settings, including a middle school in Indiana, an adult education center in New Haven, Connecticut, and a private boarding school in Massachusetts. From 1989 to 1992 he taught in the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts. As an economist, his research has focused on policies affecting education reform—in particular, the role of incentives and regulation in the training, recruitment, and retention of teachers. His work has appeared in professional economics journals as well as publications for a broader audience like The Public Interest and Education Week. Professor Ballou has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on education issues and has advised the Massachusetts legislature and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on policies related to school financing, teacher licensure, and teacher compensation. His most recent research has dealt with personnel policies in charter schools, teacher testing, and the role of unions in education reform.

Recent Research

(1) Anecdotal evidence as well as some more systematic research finds that schools have responded to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) by focusing on students near the proficiency cutscore, to the detriment of those whose performance is already above the standard or so far below it there is no reasonable likelihood of closing the gap during the current year-in short, to practice a form of educational triage. We examine this hypothesis using longitudinal, student-level testing data from four states (N > 2,000,000) between the 2002-03 and 2005-06 school years. We find in general no support for the strictest form of the triage hypothesis. While results vary with sample and model specification, students at the lower end of the achievement distribution generally gain more after the onset of high stakes accountability. Click here to view the online version of this paper with additional figures and tables.