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On Educational Performance Measures

Publication Abstract

Muriel, Alastair, and Jeffrey A. Smith. 2011. "On Educational Performance Measures." Fiscal Studies, 32(2 SI): 187-206.

Quantitative performance measures (QPMs) of schools are playing an ever-larger role in education systems on both sides of the Atlantic. In this paper, we outline the rationale for the use of such measures in education, review the literature relating to several important problems associated with their use and argue that they nonetheless have a positive role to play in improving the quality of education. We delineate several institutional reforms that would help schools to respond 'positively' to QPMs, emphasising the importance of agents' flexibility to change the way they work and the importance of a sound knowledge base regarding 'what works' in raising attainment. We suggest that the present institutional set-ups in both England and the US too often hold schools accountable for outcomes over which they have little control - but that such problems are far from insurmountable.

Countries of focus: United Kingdom, United States.

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