Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Identity and Politics in School Reform Research

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Abstract

Akerlof and Kranton (2002) model the effects of student identity on achievement. They argue that students have identities that determine the effort expended on learning. Academic achievement within a school depends on the match between student identities and academic and disciplinary standards. This commentary critiques Akerlof and Kranton’s model because they assume that schools always seek to maximize student learning, which leads to misleading conclusions about school reform in general.