Can public rankings improve school performance? Evidence from a nationwide reform in Tanzania

Author(s): Cilliers, Jacobus; Mbiti, Isaac; Zeitlin, Andrew

Organisation(s): Institute for the Study of Labor (Germany)

Date: 2019

Pages: 44 p.


In 2013, Tanzania introduced "Big Results Now in Education", a low-stakes accountability program that published both nationwide and within-district school rankings. Using data from the universe of school performance from 2011-2016, the authors identify the impacts of the reform using a difference-in-differences estimator that exploits the differential pressure exerted on schools at the top and bottom of their respective district rankings. They find that BRN improved learning outcomes for schools in the bottom two deciles of their districts. However, the program also led schools to strategically exclude students from the terminal year of primary school.

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