Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anchoring Vignettes and the "Rose-Coloured Glasses" Effect in Parents' School Satisfaction

Jack Buckley (Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Steinhardt School, NYU), was mentioned on this blog before in relation to findings he produced on survey context effects in the use of anchoring vignettes. The post is available here.

Buckley has produced other work using anchoring vignettes - related to parents' school satisfaction. He used the chopit model (estimated in GLAMM) to examine the "rose-coloured glasses" effect, which refers to parents reporting higher levels of satisfaction with a school solely or partially as a justification for the effort expended in the choice process. This reminds me of the cognitive dissonance problem, along the lines of "I made the right choice" (when I know I really didn't).

Initially, Buckley finds that parents in charter schools evaluate their child's school more highly and are more satisfied with many dimensions of those schools than parents with children in traditional public schools. (Charter schools are elementary or secondary schools in the United States that receive public money but have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools - more on this here). After applying the anchoring vignettes technique, Buckley shows that parents who change to a charter school are actually tougher graders of the new school.

These results are reported in a book by Buckley and Mark Schneider: "Charter Schools - Hope or Hype?". The publication is currently available courtesy of Google Books here; if you scroll to page 191 you'll find the relevant section. Buckley's vignettes are available to view on Gary King's example page: here, here and here.

1 comment:

JackBuckley said...

Thanks very much for the mention! I should point out that Dan Hopkins and Gary King have another, more technical approach to the selection of vignettes (and deal with some of the issue I raise in the paper you linked to previously) at Also, Jonathan Wand has another working paper on the same topic.
Best, Jack