The literature is very rich in its discussion on how to measure school performance, but there are still a number of gaps to investigate in relation to the determinants of that performance, especially at the level of school performance management practices. The purpose of the paper is to understand better performance management practices in schools and how they may relate to school achievement.
Frequently, the performance of schools is evaluated using solely output measures: especially exam classifications, but also progression rates, completion rates and wastage rates. Previously, a value‐added approach was used to quantitatively evaluate Portuguese secondary schools beyond output results. From the results of this exercise, a sample of schools with different levels of observed performance was chosen. In‐depth case studies of the sample of schools were undertaken to gather an understanding of their performance management practices, taking Bouckaert and Halligan's framework of analysis.
Self‐evaluation and performance management are not well developed in schools. Most schools monitor exam results, progression and completion rates. However, they do not seem to do it in a formal and systematic way, and find it difficult to understand the reasons for the results obtained. Incorporation of performance measures into performance management is incipient, and most acknowledge the difficulty of going from measurement of results to improvement actions. Few can demonstrate that improvement actions have resulted from self‐evaluation and very few evaluate improvement actions' results. There seems to be an agreement that the external evaluation of schools has prompted the development of self‐evaluation.
This is a study at the meso level of analysis of public sector performance, that of state education. The study contributes to a better understanding of performance management in Portuguese secondary schools. More generally, it investigates the usefulness of the Bouckaert and Halligan framework to assess progress in performance management and whether that will lead to progress in performance itself.
Sarrico, C.S., Rosa, M.J. and Manatos, M.J. (2012), "School performance management practices and school achievement", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 61 No. 3, pp. 272-289. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410401211205641Download as .RIS
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