Life Course Centre Seminar Series

Who responds to school accountability information? Evidence from the launch of the MySchool website

Presented by A/Prof Cain Polidano with Gigi Foster and Julie Moschion

This event was recorded

Whether school accountability information helps or hinders equality of access to ‘good schooling’ is contentious. In this study we estimate the impact that the release of school-level NAPLAN scores, via the MySchool website, has had on SES composition in revealed high and low scoring schools across private and public sectors. Impacts are estimated using population school-level ACARA data and difference-in-differences estimation, exploiting variation in school competition at the time of MySchool’s launch. We find increased enrolments in high-scoring public schools, driven by both high and low SES families switching away from private schools as they update their beliefs about the merits of public education. Enrolments at low-scoring public schools are unchanged because few of their competitor schools are high-scoring. Our results contradict a common belief that low SES families care less about academic achievement when choosing schools and allay fears that MySchool may have deepened disadvantage by prompting the flight of high SES families from low-scoring schools.

A/Prof Cain Polidano is a Life Course Centre Associate Investigator at the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research at the University of Melbourne. His research involves the use of administrative data to understand the causal factors that shape the life trajectories of disadvantaged Australians, especially in the spheres of education, Indigenous and retirement policy. Currently he is working on ARC projects on the equity impacts of superannuation policy changes, the impacts of policies that give Indigenous businesses preferential access to government contracts and on the drivers and legacy of historical frontier violence in Australia. He is also working on a Life Course Centre project using MADIP data to understand the role that apprenticeship incentive payments play in generating education and employment opportunities for disadvantaged young people. Prior to completing a PhD in Econometrics at Monash University in 2010, Cain worked as a senior research economist with the Productivity Commission.

Date & Time

Tue, 30 May, 2023

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (AEST)






Life Course Centre