Friday, January 6, 2012

Educational performance management in the UK

Economists delight in cataloging the many and varied ways in which local government employees, whether in the schools or in job training programs, respond to performance incentives by gaming the system. Under poorly designed performance management systems, it will be easier for workers to improve their measured performance by gaming the system than to improve their actual performance.

The Daily Mail reports on just these sorts of shenanigans in schools in the UK. Schools there are subject to periodic inspections by something called Ofsted. One highlight:
In one example, a teacher described how he was worried about taking three of the worst classes in his ‘hell hole’ school during an inspection.
But, the day before, the deputy headteacher arrived and reeled off the names of more than a dozen of the most challenging pupils from the ‘worst’ three classes.
He told the teacher: ‘None of these little **** will be in tomorrow, you have my word.’
The teacher asked how he could be sure as the pupils had ‘excellent’ attendance records and the senior teacher showed him an ‘inch-thick wad of £20 notes’.
You can find more on this theme (and much else) in my Fiscal Studies paper (with Alistair Muriel) on educational performance management.

Hat tip: Charlie Brown

No comments: