An Interview with Josh Angrist: School Quality – Who Decides?”

Education News; May 27, 2012

Peer illu­sion is a term we use to describe the fact that peo­ple tend to con­fuse the level of stu­dent per­for­mance with school qual­ity. The fact that the level of achieve­ment is high does not tell you much about whether a child is bet­ter off at this school or some other school. A great exam­ple of peer illu­sion is described in our study of Boston and New York exam schools (such as the Boston Latin School and New York’s Stuyvesant). The kids at these schools are awe­some. But not because of the schools; these kids would have been awe­some any­where. Our results show those who attend an exam school are doing no bet­ter as a result.


Positive devel­op­ments and some sur­pris­ingly good news are com­ing out of the last decade or so’s edu­ca­tion research. The qual­ity of this research is higher than it’s ever been, and some of the results, such as those for teacher value-added mod­els and No Excuses char­ters, are encour­ag­ing. You for­got to ask me if I’m opti­mistic about American edu­ca­tion. I am.”