Congratulations to Dr. Joshua Hyman, Assistant Professor, on receiving a grant from the Spencer Foundation for his study No Child Left Relaxed? The Effect of Test –Based Accountability on Childhood Anxiety and Mental Health.
Over the past three decades, the prevalence and stakes of test-based accountability in the U.S. expanded dramatically. During the same period, rates of childhood anxiety and mental health issues increased. Parents, teachers, and the media have drawn a causal link between these two phenomena, but little empirical research has been conducted to assess the legitimacy of these claims. In this study, Dr. Hyman is examining the effect of test-based accountability on childhood anxiety and mental health. Dr. Hyman is assembling an original dataset documenting which states required statewide standardized testing, by grade and year, from the mid-1980’s through present. He is obtaining measures of mental health for over 11,000 school-aged children during this period from the nationally representative Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) 1979 dataset. He is using a difference-in-differences design that exploits plausibly exogenous variation in when states adopt testing and the grades in which they test. Dr. Hyman is examining heterogeneity of results by whether the test was high stakes for either the student or school, by the length of time between the test administration and mental health measurement, and by student characteristics such as gender, race, and family income.