Student test scores are unlikely to influence school board elections, concludes a study by Christopher R. Berry and William G. Howell, professors at the University of Chicago.
For the study, 499 school board election cycles were researched in South Carolina from 2000 through 2004. The researchers found that many voters reacted to low student test scores in 2000 by choosing not to re-elect incumbents, but they did not react that way during the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, when they voted for incumbents despite the existence of low test scores.
The study concludes that the change in voting habits may have been due to more negative press coverage of the school board elections in 2000 and little media attention in the following cycles, as well as the implementation of tests mandated under the federal No Child Left Behind Act before the 2002 election cycle.
A version of this article appeared in the November 14, 2007 edition of Education Week