On Educational Performance Measures

32 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2011

See all articles by Alastair Muriel

Alastair Muriel

Institute for Fiscal Studies

Jeffrey A. Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)


Quantitative school performance measures (QPMs) 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 educational quality. We delineate several institutional reforms which would help schools to respond "positively" to QPMs, emphasizing 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 setups 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.

Keywords: school quality, performance measures, education incentives

JEL Classification: H52, I2, I28

Suggested Citation

Muriel, Alastair and Smith, Jeffrey Andrew, On Educational Performance Measures. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5897, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1909377 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1909377

Alastair Muriel (Contact Author)

Institute for Fiscal Studies ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Jeffrey Andrew Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics